The Court of Appeals on Wednesday upheld a lower court’s decision to jail an opposition senator, who is accused of posting false border maps online, an offense Prime Minister Hun Sen has likened to “treason.”
The court announced Wednesday that the lawmaker, Hong Sok Hour, will remain in detention, facing charges of “the forgery of public documents, the use of fake documents, and instigation,” according to his lawyer.
Hong Sok Hour, a senator for the Cambodia National Rescue Party, was arrested last month, after he posted a map on Facebook alleging that Cambodia had signed a “fake” treaty with Vietnam. Border issues are extremely delicate political matters, and other opposition officials have been arrested for similar actions in the past.
Choung Chougy, one of the three lawyers representing him, told reporters Wednesday that the Appeals Court had rejected their complaint against his detention, ordered by Phnom Penh Municipal Court, to prevent new offenses from occurring. The lawyers will appeal the decision with the Supreme Court, he said.
Hong Sok Hour remains in detention in Prey Sar prison.
Nai Vanda, deputy chief of legal investigation for the rights group Adhoc, said the detention appears to be politically motivated, given recent demands made by the opposition that the ruling Cambodian People’s Party address allegations of Vietnamese encroachment on the border.
In a public speech Wednesday, Prime Minister Hun Send said the opposition has “no power” to secure Hong Sok Hour’s release. “You shouted and told others that the release would be made in August, but now it’s September and you can’t release him,” Hun Sen said. “Who are you? Don’t tell lies too much.”