Top court upholds KNLF sentence

Buth Reaksmey Kongkea / Khmer Times No Comments Share:
The accused is escorted to the Supreme Court yesterday. KT/Chor Sokunthea

The Supreme Court yesterday upheld the conviction and seven-year jail term for a Khmer National Liberation Front member jailed over the distribution of party booklets that aimed to foment a rebellion to overthrow the government.

Hin Chan, 37, was arrested in 2014 and accused of plotting to overthrow the government and forgery of public documents.

Supreme Court Presiding Judge Soeung Phanhavuth said that on June 4, 2015, the accused was convicted and sentenced by Phnom Penh Municipal Court. Mr Chan then took his case to the Appeal Court, which upheld the sentence in May 2016.

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The Supreme Court conducted its own hearing yesterday.

“Based on the hearing, the Supreme Court considers the judgement of the Appeal Court to be right and made in accordance with Cambodian laws,” Judge Phanhavuth said.

Mr Chan was arrested by Interior Ministry internal security police in Chroy Changva district in Phnom Penh. Police seized 260 KNLF books and a fake passport from him after the arrest.

Mr Chan said yesterday that the court decision was very unjust because he had not broken any laws.

“I have not done anything against the law, but the court has sentenced me to seven years in prison,” he said.

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During previous hearings, Mr Chan admitted he was a member of the KNLF in charge of information technology and preparing KNLF’s website in Thailand.

He said that before the day of his arrest, he travelled from Thailand to Cambodia to bring KNLF books to distribute to supporters in the country. He said he brought 260 KNLF books from party president Sam Serey, who was then living in Thailand.

“The reason I brought these books to Cambodia was because I wanted to distribute them to Cambodians to read and learn about the KNLF’s vision, goals and objectives only,” he said. “It was not aimed at overthrowing the government as I have been accused.”

Court documents show that 23 KNLF supporters have been arrested and convicted by Phnom Penh Municipal Court and jailed for between five and seven years for allegedly plotting to overthrow the government.

The documents say the KNLF is an armed terrorist organisation whose aim is to overthrow the government, as well as the Vietnamese government.

In 2015, Mr Serey was convicted in absentia by Phnom Penh Municipal Court and sentenced to nine years in prison. He remains outside the country living in exile.

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