The Court of Appeal tried opposition senator Thak Lany in absentia yesterday over her accusation that Prime Minister Hun Sen ordered the assassination of prominent political analyst Kem Ley.
Municipal court Presiding Judge Plang Samnang convicted Ms Lany of defamation and incitement in absentia on November 17, 2016 and sentenced her to 18 months in jail.
The municipal court also issued a warrant to arrest Ms Lany at the time and ordered her to pay a fine of 8 million riel ($2,000) and give 100 riel in symbolic compensation to the premier, Mr Samnang said.
Ms Lany is in Sweden, where she has been granted political asylum.
Ky Tech, a lawyer for Mr Hun Sen, said that Ms Lany held a public forum at her house in Ratanakkiri province on July 29, 2016 where she accused the Mr Hun Sen of killing Mr Ley.
“Ms Lany knew that she made a mistake, so she has escaped abroad,” Mr Tech said. “Her activity shows that she does not take responsibility for her actions.”
Ms Lany’s lawyer Sam Sokong asked the appeal court to delay the decision because his client did not receive a summons and since his client is abroad, the court should provide at least three months to prepare to join the hearing.
“We cannot accept it,” Mr Sokong said. “We are disappointed that the court decided to continue the hearing.”
Mr Sokong said that his client still denies that she made the accusation.
“My client claims she did not say anything against the law,” said Mr Sokong.
Presiding Judge Plang Samnang said a verdict will be announced August 29.