Accessibility links

Local Opposition Official Latest to Receive Pardon


Kompong Cham Commune Chief Seang Chet received blessings from a Buddhist monk, Thursday, December 8, 2016, after serving seven months in prison. (Photo: Hul Reaksmey/VOA Khmer).​

Interior Minister Sar Kheng also told reporters that four human rights workers and a senior official with the National Election Committee, could be released later this month.

King Norodom Sihamoni on Wednesday pardoned opposition party member and Kompong Cham Commune Chief Seang Chet, who had been sentenced to five years in prison on Monday, according to a royal decree.

Chet’s release came only a few hours after a breakthrough in the political stalemate between Cambodia’s two main parties and the return to the National Assembly of opposition leader Kem Sokha, along with talks on some political issues.

After a parliamentary session in the morning, Interior Minister Sar Kheng also told reporters that four human rights workers with local NGO Adhoc and Ny Chakrya, a senior official with the National Election Committee, could be released later this month.

“Today’s release includes the case of commune chief Seang Chet. Besides that, I didn’t discuss anything. It’s all talking between Kem Sokha with Samdech Hun Sen. From what I know, before the end of December, there will be solution for human rights officials and [Chakrya],” he said.

Em Kosal, a friend of Chet from the commune, said that villagers there were happy because he was a well-loved official. “They love the person, not the party,” he said.

Chet was one of several opposition officials swept up in a raft of arrests and legal action prompted by a leaked audio recording that purportedly showed Sokha had engaged in an extra-marital affair.

Ou Virak, founder of the Future Forum, a think tank, said the release was a positive sign, but said he would wait to see if the government would release the rights workers and an election official.

“If all of them are pardoned, I think that the political climate will be stable,” he said.

XS
SM
MD
LG