A teachers’ rights activist from Kompong Thom province said Sunday he will appeal a recent sentence for what he claims is a bogus gambling charge fabricated for his outspokenness against government officials.
Sim Kimsann, deputy director of the Cambodian Independent Teachers Association, was sentenced in absentia at provincial court Saturday to two years in prison and a $2,500 fine for operating a gambling establishment in his home.
“I am an innocent person. I never opened a gambling house, and I have done nothing wrong in the past,” Sim Kimsann said.
The plaintiff, a military police officer, whom provincial Prosecutor Huot Hy declined to name Sunday, charged that Sim Kimsann hosted illegal games at his house and fired a rifle toward the plaintiff’s home with intent to destroy his property.
Sim Kimsann admitted to shooting the rifle, but said he only did it to insist that his relatives stop playing cards. Huot Hy was nonplused.
“I am a court prosecutor, but I never carry a gun. Sim Kimsann is only a teacher—why did he dare to carry a gun and fire it to threaten people?” he said.
The gambling charge was one of several that the provincial court has levied in recent years against Sim Kimsann, the teacher said. He said he believes the charges are politically motivated.
“Court officials and other government officials in this province are unhappy with me that I always reveal their corruption… which is why they create bad things to defame CITA,” he said.
Court Director Touch Sakhoeun could not be reached for comment Sunday.
Sim Kimsann said he never received a summons for his previous cases, a claim Huot Hy disputed.