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

  • ‘Kingdom one of safest to visit in Covid-19 era’

    The Ministry of Tourism on January 12 proclaimed Cambodia as one of the safest countries to visit in light of the Kingdom having been ranked number one in the world by the Senegalese Economic Prospective Bureau for its success in handling the Covid-19 pandemic. In rankings

  • Ministry mulls ASEAN+3 travel bubble

    The Ministry of Tourism plans to launch a travel bubble allowing transit between Cambodia and 12 other regional countries in a bid to resuscitate the tourism sector amid crushing impact of the ongoing spread of Covid-19, Ministry of Tourism spokesman Top Sopheak told The Post on

  • Courts’ decisions now published as reference source

    The Ministry of Justice has published 44 verdicts from civil litigation cases which can be used as models for court precedents and for study by the public and those who work in pertinent fields. Publication of the verdicts on December 31 came as the result of joint

  • Reeling in Cambodia’s real estate sector

    A new norm sets the scene but risks continue to play out in the background A cold wind sweeps through the streets of Boeung Trabek on an early January morning as buyers and traders engage in commerce under bright blue skies. From a distance, the

  • Quarantine site in north Phnom Penh inaugurated

    A four-building quarantine centre in Phnom Penh’s Prek Pnov district was formally inaugurated on January 6. The centre can house up to 500 people, according to Phnom Penh municipal governor Khuong Sreng. At the inauguration ceremony, Sreng said the municipal hall had cooperated with the Ministry

  • China firm to develop Mondulkiri airport

    Tourism to the Kingdom’s northeast corridor could experience a remarkable metamorphosis after the government decided in principle of a Chinese company to study and develop a proposal to build a regional-level airport in Mondulkiri province, according to industry insiders. The Council of Ministers said