Jailed Senator To Appeal Search Order

The Court of Appeal will on Monday hear opposition Senator Hong Sok Hour’s request to overturn a municipal court decision to seize his computer to reinvestigate the forged border treaty that landed him in prison in August.

Mr. Sok Hour, a senator for the Sam Rainsy Party, was imprisoned in August after Prime Minister Hun Sen ordered his arrest during a public speech, angered by a video he saw on Facebook in which the senator presented a doctored Cambodia-Vietnam border treaty.

The senator’s lawyer, Choung Choungy, has argued in court that the forgery and incitement charges levied against his client were unreasonable, given that Mr. Sok Hour downloaded the document after Googling “1979 treaty” and had believed it was real.

The forgery purported to show the government agreeing with Vietnam to dissolve their shared border, and Mr. Choungy’s defense led the court to order the provenance of the document reinvestigated.

But Mr. Choungy said on Thursday that he is appealing the court’s decision to order his client’s computer seized in order to check if his story is true.

“I and Hong Sok Hour reject this decision because my client had used that computer in about 2006 or 2007 to find the border treaty, so he has gone to change computers already,” Mr. Choungy said.

“The court could just use the court’s computer to connect to the Internet and then we can find it. For this reason, we are appealing the…decision.”

Appeal Court Judge Plang Samnang confirmed the hearing would go ahead on Monday.

“The schedule has not changed,” he said. “We will consider whether or not he can appeal it. I can’t know the result before the hearing.”

Mr. Sok Hour faces 17 years in jail if found guilty of the charges. Opposition leader Sam Rainsy, who already faces a separate arrest warrant, has been called to appear before the municipal court on December 4 for questioning on charges of being an accomplice in the crime because the video was posted to his Facebook page.

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