Cambodia Court Upholds CNRP Activist’s 18-Month Sentence For Facebook Post

khmer-kongmas-011619.jpg Kong Mas is shown in a Facebook photo posted on the day of his arrest, Jan. 16, 2019.
Kong Mas / Facebook

A Cambodian appeals court upheld an 18-month jail sentence for a member of the banned opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party for posts he made on Facebook in early 2019 criticizing government policies.

Phnom Penh Municipal Court on October 18, 2019 sentenced  CNRP activist Kong Mas, for “insulting the government” and “incitement to commit a crime” based on a Facebook post, which contained comments critical of Prime Minister Hun Sen’s government and predicted -- correctly -- that Cambodia would be the target of EU trade sanctions.

Kong Mas’ lawyer, Sam Sokong. said the verdict is unfair to his client and he already consulted with his client to file an appeal to the Supreme Court.

“As defense lawyer for Mr. Kong Mas, I think the verdict doesn’t render justice for my client. I have already discussed with my client and I will file an appeal to the Supreme Court to revisit the verdict of the Appellate Court,” he said.

“I am so disappointed with this verdict. I had hoped for his release,” Kong Mas’s wife Kol Sath told RFA’s Khmer Service.

Kol Sath said she had gone more than a year without her husband and his jailing has hurt the family financially, physically and spiritually.

“I don’t know what will happen next. My health and his are not good, as we are experiencing high blood pressure,” she added.

According to the domestic human rights group LICADHO, authorities arrested as many as 18 people for posting COVID-19 related concerns on Facebook.

“As COVID-19 cases continue to spread across Cambodia, the government has jailed or re-educated more than a dozen people accused of spreading ‘fake news’ about the global pandemic,” LICADHO said.

Reported by RFA’s Khmer Service. Translated by Sovannarith Keo. Written in English by Paul Eckert.

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