The Supreme Court today heard the appeal of a former CNRP deputy commune chief who was sentenced to five years in prison following a protest in front of the Poipet Customs Department building in Banteay Meanchey province in 2015.
Chao Veasna, 55, a former CNRP deputy commune chief, was arrested on February 16, 2017 and was charged with incitement to commit felony and instigation of intentional violence in connection with a violent protest in 2015.
Mr Veasna was elected as deputy commune chief in 2017 but he lost his job when the CNRP was dissolved by the Supreme Court in 2017.
On May 25, 2015, about 150 porters gathered to protest with customs officials at the Poipet International Border checkpoint over increased taxes on goods transported by carts in and out of the border gate.
The protest resulted in violence between porters and police and caused damage to seven vehicles belonging to Poipet Customs and Excise and other public property.
On March 13, the Appeal Court upheld Banteay Meanchey provincial court’s verdict on June 7, 2018 sentencing Mr Veasna and seven other suspects to five years in prison with incitement to commit felony and intentional violence.
In the courtroom today, Mr Veasna denied that he committed crime.
“I did not incite or order protesters to commit crimes,” Mr Veasna said, adding that he went to the protest because he wanted to compromise with the protesters.
“Please, the Supreme Court, acquit me because I did not commit any crime as charged,” Mr Veasna said.
Supreme Court prosecutor Veng Bunthoeun requested the judge to sentence Mr Veasna according to the law.
The verdict is due October 2.