Convicted CFF Members Will Drop Appeal

Seven men convicted of involvement with the Cambodian Free­dom Fighters thumbprinted a state­ment to stop their appeals from proceeding on Monday, in hopes of being released from Prey Sar prison.

Though their three-year jail sentences expired in early De­cem­ber, Cambodian law does not allow a prisoner to be released as long as an appeal remains outstanding.

“Those people asked us to help them withdraw their complaints with the Appeals Court because they have already served more than their sentence,” Ham Sun­rith, head of the prison monitoring program for local rights group Licadho, said Monday.

Ham Sunrith said he had collected the thumbprints and will send a letter to Appeals Court General Prosecutor Hangrot Rakem today, asking that the prisoners’ cases be expedited.

According to Prey Sar Prison Director Kim Sarin, an outstanding appeal by a court prosecutor will keep the seven men behind bars until the Appeals Court orders otherwise. No deadline is outlined in Untac law for how long the appeals process should take.

“As far as I know, the prosecutor has already filed a complaint in the Appeals Court, so even if the seven drop their appeal and the prosecutor doesn’t withdraw his, these people remain in prison,” Kim Sarin said Monday.

Ngeth Sarath, the Phnom Penh Municipal Court prosecutor who handled the case in 2000, said Monday he could not recall whether he had filed an appeal.

Ly Vouch Leng, head of the Appeals Court, declined to comment on the case.

The seven men—Sok Seangly, Chey Vandy, Roth Sean, Tes Sarin, Vieng Chim, Nhiek Kim San and Ly Chhun Huong—were jailed in December 2000 in connection with an attack on government buildings during the previous month by CFF rebels.

The US-based movement has claimed responsibility for the attack and has continued to vow the overthrow of Prime Minister Hun Sen’s government.

Kim Sarin said he now has 74 CFF prisoners in his charge, including 18 who were transferred from Battambang provincial prison in March for an Appeals Court hearing that was postponed.

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