Supreme Court Rejects CNRP Lawmaker’s Appeal

The Supreme Court on Wednesday rejected an appeal by jailed CNRP lawmaker Um Sam An over the procedures by which he was arrested, charged and detained for Facebook posts claiming the government was ceding land to Vietnam.

The high court sided with the Phnom Penh Municipal Court and Court of Appeal, which ruled that Mr. Sam An lacked constitutional immunity from arrest and prosecution because he was caught red-handed committing the crime—due to the posts remaining available online.

Siv Channa/The Cambodia Daily Um Sam An is escorted from the Supreme Court yesterday.
Um Sam An is escorted from the Supreme Court on Wednesday. (Siv Channa/The Cambodia Daily)

The lawmaker stands charged with inciting social instability and inciting discrimination for accusing the government of using illegal border maps drawn by Vietnam.

On Wednesday, Presiding Judge Soeng Panhavuth said the court rejected defense arguments seeking nullification of the case, citing a National Assembly letter giving the municipal prosecutor the authority to pursue the charge.

Upon leaving the courtroom, Mr. Sam An said he expected the ruling as the high court “is just a kids’ game or the pawn of a powerful person.”

His attorney, Hem Socheat, said he would seek a clarification of the “red-handed” rule from the Con­stitutional Council.

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