Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - ‘Shoe thrower’ Sam Sokha deported from Thailand

‘Shoe thrower’ Sam Sokha deported from Thailand

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
A photo circulated in local media appears to show Sam Sokha, who was wanted for throwing a shoe at a ruling party billboard, in custody today, though it was unclear where. Fresh News

‘Shoe thrower’ Sam Sokha deported from Thailand

Global rights group Human Rights Watch this evening said that Sam Sokha, who is wanted for throwing a shoe at a ruling party billboard last year, was handed over to Cambodia today by Thai authorities, a little over a month after she was arrested and convicted in Thailand for overstaying her visa.

The rights group’s deputy director for Asia, Phil Robertson, said contacts with local Thai authorities had confirmed that Sokha, who is recognised by the United Nations as a refugee, had been sent back to Cambodia this evening.

“Forcing refugee Sam Sokha back to Cambodia is an extremely serious and absolutely blatant human rights violation by Thailand’s military dictatorship apparently seeking to buy favors from Hun Sen,” he said via email.

He added that the international community should make Thailand pay a “serious price” for its "outrageous conduct" in deporting the Cambodian national.

Sam Rithy, Sokha’s former husband, said he had not heard of the deportation but feared for Sokha's life if she was brought back to Cambodia. “If the Thai authorities arrest and send her back, I am very concerned about her safety,” he said.

Sokha, a Kampong Speu native, posted a video on Facebook last April of her throwing her sandal twice at a ruling party billboard in Preah Sihanouk province. The first throw was aimed at an image of Prime Minister Hun Sen, and the second at a photograph of National Assembly President Heng Samrin.

She was charged in absentia by the Kampong Speu Provincial Court for “incitement to discriminate” and insulting a public official, crimes carrying a combined sentence of over three years.

Sokha fled to Thailand where she was arrested in early January and convicted for overstaying her visa. Until today, she was at the Suan Phlu Immigration Detention Centre in Bangkok, where Amnesty International reported that she was visited by Cambodian government officials to “pressure” her to return home.

National Police spokesman Kith Chantharith said he was unaware of the deportation last night, and Foreign Affairs spokesman Chum Sounry, as well as Cambodian Embassy officials in Thailand, could not be reached.

MOST VIEWED

  • ‘Dire consequences’ from sanctions, warns AmCham

    American businesspeople in Cambodia have warned that any sanction against the Kingdom would have “dire consequences” that could push Cambodia even further into the arms of China. In a letter to US senators and representatives dated Monday, the American Chamber of Commerce Cambodia (AmCham) said

  • Protests planned in New York as Hun Sen to attend the UN

    Prime Minister Hun Sen will speak at the United Nations General Assembly in New York this week. But US-based supporters of the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) plan to throw eggs at his car as part of a series of protests to coincide

  • CPP: ‘Behave or Sokha suffers’

    The ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) spokesman warned Kem Monovithya on Thursday that her attempt to damage “national reputation and prestige” would lead to her father, Kem Sokha, receiving even harsher punishment. Sok Eysan issued the warning as Monovithya, who is the court dissolved

  • Preah Sihanouk beach developments halted

    After receiving an order from Hun Sen, Minister of Land Management Chea Sophara led a team of experts and relevant officials to Sihanoukville to call a halt to the illegal development of a beach. The prime minister ordered the Prek Treng beach in Otres commune