Sam Sokha, who was sentenced to two years in prison after a video of her throwing a shoe at a ruling party billboard went viral, has written a letter to Prime Minister Hun Sen apologising and asking him to pardon her.
In the letter dated Tuesday, the 39-year-old claims that the loss of her police officer father caused suffering and hatred toward Cambodian People’s Party leaders.
She claims her father worked to help the nation but was degraded by high-level officials and ultimately fired before falling ill and dying.
Additionally, she alleges that her family wasn’t able to obtain land rightfully granted to them by the late King Norodom Sihanouk. Her widowed mother, who had to take care of two other disabled children, also fell sick shortly after her father.
Sokha continued that her situation was similarly dire, claiming she was also a widow left to care for two children. The letter says she worked in a garment factory but was fired after demanding that her employer respect labour laws and provide benefits to pregnant workers.
“Plus, the provincial department of labour took my photo and put it up at other factories, effectively barring me from obtaining another job,” the letter reads.
“I thought all day and night, couldn’t sleep, became aggressive and sometimes wanted to commit suicide . . . I dared to insult and misbehaved toward Samdach and family,” she wrote, claiming that this was because she was stupid and illiterate, making her believe incitement from opposition party figures.
Sokha fled to Thailand shortly after the Facebook video showing her throwing the shoe went viral. The Kampong Speu provincial court charged her in absentia early this year with insulting a public official and incitement to discriminate. She was fined $1,250.
After being repatriated, Sokha was jailed in Kampong Speu.
She expressed regret for the misconduct and said in the letter that she was educated while in prison.