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A tale of two birth certificates

CNRP official Norng Sarith and activist Sok Sam Ean pose for police photos earlier this month, following their arrests over a forged birth certificate.
CNRP official Norng Sarith and activist Sok Sam Ean pose for police photos earlier this month, following their arrests over a forged birth certificate. National Police

A tale of two birth certificates

The attorney of local opposition members jailed in Svay Rieng over an allegedly doctored birth certificate says he is planning to request bail for his clients, even as a ruling party commune chief accused of the same offence in Takeo province was let off with nothing more than a warning this week.

In Svay Rieng, local CNRP official Norng Sarith and activist Sok Sam Ean are currently awaiting trial on charges of faking public documents and incitement to commit a crime over a 2004 birth certificate – allegedly filled out by Sarith and posted to Facebook by Sam Ean – that lists the place of birth as “Svay Rieng province, Vietnam”.

Their attorney, Sok Sokong, said yesterday that he would file a bail request next week, maintaining that not only was the inaccuracy the result of confusion, but the document itself is also expired and had been subject to review by Sarith’s superior at the time.

“If the court were independent and just, they would be innocent,” he said.

In Takeo, however, CPP commune chief Tean Saret was released with a warning after confessing to mistakenly including “Vietnam” after Takeo under place of birth.

Mao Chandara, director of the General Department of Identification, confirmed the release and said the two cases couldn’t be compared, claiming that the two jailed in Svay Rieng had admitted to intentionally altering the location and distributing the offending document.

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