Opposition Senator Hong Sok Hour on Monday lost an appeal against a court order to seize his computer as part of an ongoing case in which he is accused of forging a border treaty.
Mr. Sok Hour was arrested on Prime Minister Hun Sen’s orders in August after he gave a lecture on border issues in a video posted to opposition leader Sam Rainsy’s Facebook page. The video also showed an image of the forged treaty, which purported to reveal a deal to dissolve Cambodia’s border with Vietnam.
Facing 17 years in prison for forging public documents and incitement, Mr. Sok Hour’s defense is that he did not forge the treaty himself, but was instead duped by a fake treaty he found by Googling “1979 treaty.” The prosecution has called for him to prove this claim by giving the court access to the computer he used.
Mr. Sok Hour has fought the order, saying that he long ago bought a new computer and that the court would only have to do its own Google search to verify his claim. However, Presiding Judge Plang Samnang of the Appeal Court rejected the senator’s appeal on Monday.
“The appeal of lawyer Choung Choungy, who was the lawyer defending Hong Sok Hour on October 21, 2015, cannot be accepted,” said Judge Samnang, citing procedural issues with the senator’s appeal.
The judge said Mr. Sok Hour could only appeal the order once a final verdict had been handed down, and that he did not have the right to appeal individual orders made by the Phnom Penh Municipal Court until that time.
“If he wants to appeal this [decision to the Supreme Court], that’s his right. But this court does not provide such a right to him,” Mr. Samnang said.
Mr. Choungy said he was aware of no such restrictions on appealing decisions made during a trial and said he was considering Supreme Court action.
“It seems that the Court of Appeal thinks that a party does not have the right to appeal [individual decisions],” he said. “This thinking is not correct.”