Senator’s Appeal Hearing Proceeds in Her Absence

The Appeal Court on Thursday moved ahead with opposition Senator Thak Lany’s appeal against her municipal court verdict, announcing that it would hand down its decision on August 29 despite a request for a delay by Ms. Lany’s lawyer.

The senator’s lawyer, Sam Sokong, criticized the Appeal Court for going ahead with the case, alleging that it had not notified Ms. Lany of Thursday’s hearing.

Mr. Sokong said the court had violated legal procedures by not giving the required three months between a court order and appearance for defendants who are abroad in a country that does not border Cambodia.

Ms. Lany allegedly accused Prime Minister Hun Sen of ordering the assassination of political analyst Kem Ley in July last year, and fled to Sweden after Mr. Hun Sen filed a defamation suit against her. She was convicted in the Phnom Penh Municipal Court in November and sentenced to 18 months in prison, levied a $2,000 fine and ordered to pay 100 riel in symbolic compensation to Mr. Hun Sen.

Appeal Court spokesman Touch Tharith rejected Mr. Sokong’s claims and said that the court had indeed issued a summons requesting Ms. Lany appear in court on Thursday.

He added the verdict would be announced on August 29—with or without Ms. Lany and her lawyer.

“There is nothing wrong with the law because it was complied with the procedures by legally summoning. She abandoned and escaped abroad. It is her matter,” Mr. Tharith said.

Ky Tech, lawyer to Mr. Hun Sen, said it was up to the judges to decide whether to approve Mr. Sokong’s request for a delay.

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