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King Reduces Cheam Channy's Sentence

Cambodian King Sihamoni reduces the prison sentence of the jailed opposition party member Cheam Channy from 7 years to 3 years according to the Sam Rainsy Party members, Cheam Channy's lawyers and diplomats.

Cheam Channy was arrested a year ago immediately after the National Assembly voted to strip his parliamentary immunity.

The Sam Rainsy party, his lawyers and foreign diplomats believe this is the first step towards the complete royal pardon and the release of Cheam Channy from prison after long and difficult internal negotiations between Cambodian politicians and intense international pressure.

Cheam Channy was sentenced to a seven-year sentence last August for attempting to create an illegal army to topple the Hun Sen government.

SRP member Yim Sovann said he heard about the King's action after Prime Minister Hun Sen has agreed to reduce the seven year sentence to 3 years. The SRP official said he welcomed the move but believed that Cheam Channy should be a free man because he was not guitly as charged.

Military court officials, Cheam Channy's wife and his lawyer all said they have heard about the sentence reduction but have not seen any formal documents.