Appeal Court Sets Date for Ros Sokhet Case

The Court of Appeal has set a date to hear the case of journalist Ros Sokhet, convicted of disseminating disinformation by the Phnom Penh Municipal Court in November, according to a court clerk.

“His case was with our court for about three months. Now his case is scheduled for Aug 18,” said Uong Natry, a clerk at the Appeal Court.

Mr Sokhet is nine months into a two-year prison sentence for sending a series of disparaging text messages to television personality Soy Sopheap, known to have close ties with government officials.

Mr Sokhet’s lawyer, Sam Sokong, could not be reached for comment. But Mr Sokhet said from prison yesterday that his lawyer had called his sister last month to request $1,000 to secure his bail with the court.

“My lawyer, Sam Sokong, called my sister…asking for $1,000 for my bail to pay the judge, prosecutor and clerk, but my sister has no money to pay,” said Mr Sokhet, who spoke by phone yesterday from Prey Sar prison. “Nowadays my family is so poor.”

Mr Natry, the court clerk, said he was unaware of any financial bargaining over Mr Sokhet’s bail.

Pen Samitthy, president of the Club of Cambodian Journalists, said his group would try to aid Mr Sokhet in his appeal.

“We are studying his appeal case…to find a way to help him,” he said.

The charge against Mr Sokhet stemmed from four text messages he sent Mr Sopheap in October questioning whether the news anchor had extorted money from Ke Dara, the jailed wife of an advisor to National Assembly President Heng Samrin. Ms Dara was sentenced to 18 months in October for shooting into the air during a traffic altercation.

 

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