Activist Said Sentenced

Opposition party member Sok Yoeun was sentenced Wed­nesday to six months in jail by a Thai court for illegally entering that country, opposition leader Sam Rainsy said Wednesday.

A second party member, Bang­­kok office head Sar Soph­orn, is likely to be in court today for allegedly helping Sok Yoeun in his flight to Thailand after he became a suspect in last year’s Si­em Reap rocket attack, he said.

Neither court action could be independently verified.

Thai papers reported Wedne­sday the Cambodia-born Thai Duang Suwan was also arrested for allegedly helping Sok Yoeun.

“I’m very satisfied by this. At least we know they are in legal hands,” Sam Rainsy said.

Since his name was first raised Dec 20 during a Thai parliament­a­ry session, Sok Yoeun has be­en the focus of Cambodia’s first attempt to bring a suspect back to the country for prosecution.

Last week, the Cambodian government formally asked Thai­land to cooperate on Sok Yoeun’s return, but Thai authorities did not immediately say they would do so, claiming they would first prosecute him under their own immigration laws.

Though both Thai and Cam­bod­ian officials deny this will strain relations between the two coun­­tries, Sok Yoeun’s jail term does at least delay extradition at­tempts and, some op­po­sition party members say, casts doubt on Cambod­ia’s case again­st the Battambang province activist.

Party members and rights work­ers have been critical of the government’s attempts to find suspects in the rocket attack, which was called by Hun Sen’s supporters an attempt on the prime minister’s life.

Two Sam Rainsy Party members are in custody in Phnom Penh and a warrant has al­legedly been issued by Cam­bod­ian military court for Sok Yoeun’s arrest, despite what rights workers have characterized as insufficient evidence against the men.

Sam Rainsy said Poovong Posai, the Thai lawyer representing both Sok Yoeun and Sar Sophorn, has 31 days to appeal the Thai court’s decision, though it is unclear if he will do so.


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