Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Supreme Court upholds sentence of former opposition senator who made Kem Ley accusations

Supreme Court upholds sentence of former opposition senator who made Kem Ley accusations

Former opposition Senator Thak Lany had her prison sentence for defamation and incitement upheld today by the Supreme Court.
Former opposition Senator Thak Lany had her prison sentence for defamation and incitement upheld today by the Supreme Court. Facebook

Supreme Court upholds sentence of former opposition senator who made Kem Ley accusations

The Supreme Court today upheld an 18-month prison sentence against exiled former Sam Rainsy Party senator Thak Lany for accusing Prime Minister Hun Sen of being behind the 2016 killing of analyst Kem Ley.

The former opposition senator, who fled to Sweden, was sentenced in absentia by a Phnom Penh Municipal Court in November 2016 following a complaint by Prime Minister Hun Sen accusing her of “defamation and incitement to cause chaos”.

During the hearing this morning, defence lawyer Sam Sokong said that Thak Lany had indeed made the accusation during a speech to opposition members in Ratanakkiri’s Lumphat district, which he argued is “not in a public forum”. Someone had leaked the audio, he claimed, and posted it to social media.

“I would ask the court to transfer the case to the Appeal Court for re-investigation,” he said.

Hun Sen’s lawyer, Ky Tech, countered that Lany's statements were indeed made to a public audience because of the sound system that was used. He said her intention was to make people hate the prime minister and to not support the ruling Cambodian People’s Party.

“Thak Lany had a public forum because there were loudspeakers. So it’s defamation and incitement to cause chaos in society,” he said. “If it affects ordinary people, it’s a common issue, but it also affects the prime minister and his reputation.”

Presiding Judge Khim Ponn ruled that because Thak Lany had clearly made the statements he would uphold the lower court's decision. He said he based the decision on the audio and video clip.

“After having discussed and seen that defense lawyer Sam Sokong said his client did not have a public forum ... the court sees that it’s not reasonable because Thak Lany did make the accusation,” Ponn said.

The court issued an arrest warrant for Lany, who remains in Sweden, and ordered her to pay 100 riel ($.02), on top of a $2,000 fine, in symbolic compensation to the premier.

MOST VIEWED

  • CNRP supporters rally in the streets of Tokyo

    Supporters of the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) on Monday rallied on the streets of Tokyo, demanding Prime Minister Hun Sen’s resignation and urging the Japanese government to “save democracy in the Kingdom”. Some 400 protesters in the rally, which was organised by

  • Over 100 Chinese nationals to be deported for online scam

    The Ministry of Interior is planning to deport 128 Chinese nationals after they were arrested in Preah Sihanouk province on Wednesday for their alleged involvement in an online money extortion scam. Y Sokhy, the head of the Department of Counter-terrorism and Transnational Crime, told The Post

  • LPG gas explosion injures 13 people, including foreigners, in Siem Reap

    An explosion on Wednesday at a liquid petroleum gas (LPG) car and tuk-tuk refuelling station in Siem Reap city has left 13 people, including an American and a Briton, suffering burns. The seven most severely burned, including a provincial police officer, were sent to a Thai

  • The French mother navigating the capital in her own personal tuk-tuk

    French woman Cecile Dahome gracefully manoeuvres her tuk-tuk through the manic streets of Phnom Penh with the precision of a Japanese katana before a herd of motorcyclists, attempting to perform illegal U-turns, cuts her off. The riders, like baby ducklings following their mother’s tracks,