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Supreme Court upholds shoe thrower’s sentence

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Sam Sokha is escorted into the Supreme Court last week for her appeal hearing. Kim Sarom

Supreme Court upholds shoe thrower’s sentence

The Supreme Court on Wednesday upheld the sentence for Sam Sokha, who threw a shoe at a Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) banner in Preah Sihanouk province and posted a message from Thailand insulting the government.

Sokha, who was a garment worker in Kampong Speu province, threw a shoe at a CPP street banner in Ream commune in 2017, after which she fled to Thailand as police sought to arrest her.

She was then arrested by Thai authorities, repatriated to Cambodia, put on trial the same year, and sentenced to four years in jail by the Kampong Speu Provincial Court after being found guilty of “insulting and inciting to discriminate” under articles 494, 496 and 502 of the Criminal Code.

The Supreme Court’s verdict was delivered on Wednesday without the presence of Sokha or her lawyer Lor Chunthy.

Judge Kong Srim noted that after listening to the prosecutor and defence lawyer, the Supreme Court concluded that the Appeal Court was right to uphold the provincial court’s verdict and sentencing.

Chunthy said he had requested the court to overturn one of his client’s convictions, meaning she could now be released after accounting for time served on the remaining conviction.

He noted this would allow her to care for her three children and ageing mother. “I have no idea what to do now as the Supreme Court decided to uphold the verdict and sentencing,” Chunthy said.

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