Monk’s Lawyer Asks for Delay in Sedition Trial

The lawyer for activist monk Luon Sovath has called upon the Phnom Penh Municipal Court to delay a sedition trial scheduled for next week, after learning that his client is to be tried in the same case as the original defendant, Cambodian-American dissident Sourn Serey Ratha.

The monk’s lawyer, Ham Sunrith, said he has asked for a stay on proceedings, “because I need more time to learn about what is in the case file.”

Luon Sovath has been charged with plotting to commit an attack, which carries a maximum 10-year prison sentence, and is to be tried alongside Mr. Serey Ratha, the exiled leader of the Khmer People Power Movement (KPPM).

The monk said by email that Sieng Sovannara, chief monk at Wat Samakki Raingsey, has also been called to testify in the case.

“I ask the court to please clearly investigate who the real witnesses are, because I am not a witness to this story,” Sieng Sovannara said by telephone. Luon Sovath claims to have only met Mr. Serey Ratha once, in 2011.

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