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Courts Uphold Terrorism Verdict for 3 Men


The Supreme Court Wednesday upheld life sentences for three men found guilty of charges related to domestic terrorism.

Cambodian Sman Ismael and Thais Abdul Azi Haji Chiming and Muhammad Yalaludin Mading were sentenced in 2004 to life in prison by Phnom Penh Municipal Court for planning attacks on the several Western embassies.

The men were linked in court to Jemaah Islamiya, the reported Southeast Asian branch of al Qaeda, though human rights groups criticized the proceedings for a lack of transparency and evidence.

Supreme Court Judge Khem Pon, who presided over the five-judge court, said in his decision that the three men had conspired to terrorist acts and helped facilitate the preparation of terrorist attacks on US, British and Australian embassies in Phnom Penh.

"I think the Supreme Court has no justice, because there was no evidence and no witnesses against my clients," Kao Sopha, lawyer for the three men, said, adding that he would seek another way to free his clients.

"I am not a terrorist," Sman Ismael told reporters as he was moved from the courtroom into a prison van with the two other men. "I hope Prime Minister Hun Sen will help me, because I am a Cambodian national, and I only practice the Islamic religion. I have no intention to kill humans at all."

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