A Phnom Penh Municipal Court judge has acquitted three foreigners of entering the country illegally, but convicted four others and ordered them deported.
Judge Ya Sakhon said Wednesday that he dismissed illegal entry charges against Indonesians Diksam, 48, Haryadi, 47, and Nustain, 21. Like many Indonesians, they go by one name.
The judge convicted Pakistanis Naeem Ahmad Chodri, 33, and Barkat Ali, 28. He also convicted Afghan native Hammad Wali, 37, and Indonesian Abraham Louhenpessy, 41, of illegal entry and ordered all four men deported. The judge also sentenced the men to between four months and five months in jail, time which they have already served awaiting trial. The judge said he handed down his verdict during a hearing Tuesday.
All seven men were arrested in Sihanoukville July 7 after authorities stopped a boatload of more than 253 asylum seekers, most of them Afghans, who allegedly had paid human smugglers to be taken to Australia via Cambodia.
A total of 187 asylum seekers were from Afghanistan and 54 were Pakistanis. The group included 14 children.
As part of his verdict, Ya Sakhon also ordered that the ship used to carry the asylum seekers be confiscated.
Police said Wednesday it was not clear when the men would be deported. They said it was a matter of receiving the appropriate paperwork.
“We are waiting for the court verdict; then we will send them to the Immigration Police Department for deportation,” said Sin Chunghor, chief of the interrogative office at the Ministry of Interior.