Court Upholds Sentence for Opposition Senator

The Appeal Court yesterday upheld an 18-month prison sentence against opposition senator Thak Lany for allegedly accusing Prime Minister Hun Sen of ordering the assassination of political analyst Kem Ley.

Presiding Judge Plang Samnang did not provide any reason for his decision to uphold the defamation sentence, which also includes a $2,000 fine and symbolic compensation of 100 riel, or about $0.03, to Mr. Hun Sen.

Thak Lany in a photograph posted to her Facebook page.

Ms. Lany has denied making the accusation against the prime minister during a speech in Ratanakkiri province last year, saying an audio recording from the speech was doctored. She has since fled to Sweden. Sam Sokong, Ms. Lany’s lawyer, called the decision unacceptable and said he would appeal to the Supreme Court at the senator’s request.

“The decision did not give justice for my client,” he said. “The municipal court sentenced her to one year and a half, 18 months, and that is tough.”

Kem Ley was shot in July last year in broad daylight in a case that prompted a mass funeral procession as well as widespread suspicions of government involvement.

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