The families of men convicted last week as rebels in the trial of the Cambodian Freedom Fighters say they plan to file appeals on behalf of their relatives because the prison sentences handed down are too long.
Van Sokha, the daughter of Van Toem, who was sent to prison for 20 years, said her father was not involved in the attack on government buildings last November. “Why is he imprisoned for 20 years in jail?” she asked.
Five of the suspected rebels were given life sentences, while 25 were sent to prison for three to 18 years upon conviction on charges of terrorism, conspiracy to commit terrorism or membership in an illegal armed force. No one has filed an appeal for any of the convicted rebels, said Dann Bophan, the clerk director of the Appeals Court.
At least four people died in the rebel group’s failed raid on government buildings Nov 24, according to the government. The trial was condemned by international human rights groups for failing to protect the defendants’ right to a fair trial. Van Sokha said her father’s lawyer was kept from speaking to him before the trial began, making it hard to mount a defense. Liv Sovanna, a lawyer of the Cambodian Defenders Project, said on Monday that he was not given enough time to speak to clients. Chaing Sear Mean, wife of convicted CFF member Ly Chhun Houng, said the trial relied on almost no evidence.
“They just made an accusation and said he was guilty,” she said. “I will file to the Appeal Court soon and I hope it will not be like the Municipality Court.”