The Court of Appeal has reduced the prison term of a disabled supporter of the former opposition party who was jailed for insulting Prime Minister Hun Sen.
Phun Yuth was arrested in July at his rental house in Siem Reap province and charged with incitement to discriminate and public insult over posts on Facebook in May and June which insulted Mr Hun Sen.
In October, Siem Reap Provincial Court sentenced Yuth to 18 months in jail.
Sam Titseyha, Yuth’s lawyer, yesterday said that presiding judge Yet Molin on Thursday ordered the release of his client after considering his family’s situation and his confession.
“The Appeal Court decided to sentence him to five months and eight days in jail from the day of his arrest and the rest of sentence was suspended,” he said. “Presiding judge [Yet Molin] decided to release him from prison because he admitted his mistake and was also disabled [with polio], noting that he needed to support his family’s livelihood.
“The judge also considered his good behaviour while in prison,” Mr Titseyha added.
He noted that Yuth should have been released on Friday after being in prison for five years and eight days, but is still in prison possibly due to administrative procedures.
Yuth’s wife Mom Vet, 25, yesterday said that she hopes he will be freed today.
“I went to the provincial prison on Friday but they have not yet released my husband and the prison guards claimed they have not seen the court warrant,” she said. “I am very happy that I will meet my husband soon because we are facing financial problems.”
Court spokesman Touch Tharith and Chem Savuth, Siem Reap provincial prison chief, could not be reached for comment yesterday.
Former CNRP lawmaker Ou Chanrath yesterday lauded the court’s decision to release a disabled person over charges of insulting government leaders.
“It is a society’s moral obligation to consider the rights of a disabled person,” he said. “Secondly, he was just exercising his right to express concern about issues affecting society so I think it is not a serious crime.”