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Supreme Court upholds drug conviction

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Taing Ly leaves the Supreme Court yesterday. KT/Pann Rachana

The Supreme Court yesterday upheld the sentencing of a 55-year-old man to 15 years in jail for possessing nearly half a kilogram of crystal meth in Phnom Penh in 2015.

Presiding Judge Kim Sothavy identified the man as Taing Ly from Stung Meanchey commune in Phnom Penh’s Meanchey district.

Judge Sothavy said Mr Ly was charged with drug possession and trafficking after he was arrested on June 30, 2015 in Stung Meanchey commune.

She noted that at about 8pm on the day of the arrest, the Interior Ministry’s Anti-Drug Police Department raided Mr Ly’s house.

Police arrested two people in addition to Mr Ly, namely Se Ya, 45, and Prum Sovann, 35. Officers also seized a large package of crystal meth weighing 483.60 grams, one scale and other drug related materials from them.

Judge Sothavy said Phnom Penh Municipal Court on June 28, 2016 convicted the three men and sentenced them to 15 years each in prison. The court also ordered them to pay $ 5,000 each to put into the state budget.

She added that the men appealed the judgement to the Appeal Court, which upheld their convictions on July 25, 2017.

Mr Ly appealed to the Supreme Court and requested the court to overturn the ruling and release him from prison. However, Mr Ya and Mr Sovann did not appeal to the Supreme Court.

“Based on the trial, the evidence, and after the judges’ council of the Supreme Court has clearly checked, considered and inspected all related documents in this case, the Supreme Court understands that the judgement of the Appeal Court was right and was made in accordance with Cambodian laws,” Ms Sothavy said.

“Therefore, the Supreme Court has decided to uphold the judgement of the Appeal Court and close the accused’s appeal,” she added.

Speaking outside of the court room yesterday, Mr Ly said the ruling was unjust because he did not commit the crime.

“It was very unjust,” Mr Ly said. “I was not the owner of the drugs seized. They drugs seized belonged to Mr Ya and Mr Sovann. But the court had convicted and sentenced me to 15 years in prison.”

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