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No Royal Intervention in Mam Sonando Case, Prince Says

  • Heng Reaksmey
  • VOA Khmer

Cambodian King Norodom Sihamoni, left, follows Japanese Emperor Akihito, right, and Empress Michiko, center, on their way to a welcoming ceremony at the Imperial Palace, in Tokyo, Japan, file photo.

Cambodian King Norodom Sihamoni, left, follows Japanese Emperor Akihito, right, and Empress Michiko, center, on their way to a welcoming ceremony at the Imperial Palace, in Tokyo, Japan, file photo.

King Norodom Sihamoni will not intervene in the jailing of Beehive Radio owner Mam Sonando, a royal spokesman said Tuesday.

PHNOM PENH - King Norodom Sihamoni will not intervene in the jailing of Beehive Radio owner Mam Sonando, a royal spokesman said Tuesday.

Mam Sonando was handed a 20-year prison sentence earlier this month on allegations he helped foment a secessionist plot in Kratie province, a charge that rights groups say has little supporting evidence.

His arrest and subsequent trial have become increasingly politically sensitive, with hundreds of supporters protesting the court’s Oct. 1 decision and with the US and major international organizations calling for his release.

Mam Sonando’s pro-democracy group, the Association of Democrats, submitted a letter to the king on Monday, asking that he use his constitutional powers of pardon to release Mam Sonando.

Royal spokesman Prince Sisowath Thomico told VOA Khmer the king “could not” intervene. Nor can former king Norodom Sihanouk, he said.

The prince said he himself did not believe Mam Sonando led a secessionist movement, which the government claims culminated in a violent clash between villagers in Kratie province and security forces. However, only Prime Minister Hun Sen can intervene in the case, the prince said.

Government spokesman Phay Siphan said the premier will not interfere with the decision of the court.
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