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Opposition Senator Sentenced to 7 Years in Jail


FILE - Cambodian opposition Senator Hong Sok Hour (L) of the Sam Rainsy Party (SRP) is escorted by police officers at the Municipal Court in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, 02 October 2015.

FILE - Cambodian opposition Senator Hong Sok Hour (L) of the Sam Rainsy Party (SRP) is escorted by police officers at the Municipal Court in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, 02 October 2015.

Senator Hong Sok Hour was arrested in August last year after posting online what he claimed was part of a treaty between Cambodia and Vietnam that he said was evidence of Vietnamese transgressions.

A court in Cambodia has sentenced an opposition senator to 7 years behind bars for offenses he was said to have committed during a campaign last year against alleged Vietnamese encroachment on Cambodian territory.

Senator Hong Sok Hour of the Sam Rainsy Party, who holds French citizenship, was arrested in August last year after posting online what he claimed was part of a treaty between Cambodia and Vietnam that he said was evidence of Vietnamese transgressions.

Ros Piseth, Phnom Penh Municipal Court judge, said on Monday that Sok Hour had been sentenced on three offenses: falsifying a treaty; falsifying public documents; and inciting social chaos, according to Choung Chou Ngy, Sok Hour’s lawyer.

He added that the decision was “unfair” because no experts had been called to testify as to the authenticity of the treaty extract.

“[T]he court accused my client of using the Internet to commit a crime, but the court did not use the Internet during the investigation and in the hearing,” he said.

Judge Piseth could not be reached for comment.

Am Sam Ath, monitoring director of Licadho, a local rights group, said there were serious flaws in the evidence presented at the trial.

“The point is the judge is still refusing to disclose the lawyer’s exculpatory evidence,” he said. “Legally, the exculpatory evidence must be disclosed because it enables the judge to consider the case fairly and decide the verdict accordingly.”

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