First Appeal of CNRP Insurrection Convictions Rejected

The Appeal Court on Friday rejected the first appeal against the convictions of 11 opposition figures who were found guilty of insurrection in 2015 over a political protest in Phnom Penh’s Freedom Park, a lawyer said.

The CNRP officials were imprisoned over a protest that turned violent at Freedom Park in July 2014. The most high-profile official in the case was Meach Sovannara, the director of the CNRP’s information department, who received a 20-year sentence, as did two others.

cam photo CNRP KHMER
Meach Sovannara, the imprisoned head of the CNRP’s information department, gestures at supporters as he is escorted out of the courthouse following a hearing at the Appeal Court in Phnom Penh on August last year in the insurrection case against him and 10 other opposition activists and officials. (Siv Channa/The Cambodia Daily)

Eight other activists were sentenced to seven years in prison.

Two appeals were filed by the defendants, one contesting the Phnom Penh Municipal Court’s decision to deliver a guilty verdict amid a boycott by most of the defense lawyers, and a second appeal against the guilty verdict itself.

Choung Chungy, a lawyer for Mr. Sovannara and four other defendants, confirmed Presiding Judge Plang Samnang rejected the appeal.

“This morning the judge decided to reject our appeal for nullifying the conviction. He said it wasn’t right by the law,” Mr. Chungy said.

The appeal was now expected to be taken to the Supreme Court. 

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