Trio Appeal Convictions in Plotting for T-Shirt Shipment

Three men convicted by the Phnom Penh Municipal Court earlier this month over transporting T-shirts printed with a message urging people not to vote in the 2013 national election have asked the Appeal Court to review the decision, their lawyer said Wednesday.

The men were convicted of obstructing elections and plotting an attack on the government and sentenced to between five and six years in jail. Sok Sam Oeun, who defended the trio, said the appeal was filed Monday.

“They appealed because they were not satisfied with the decision and they know that they were just providing T-shirts,” he said.

The government accused the men of being members of the Khmer People Power Movement, a dissident group based in the U.S. that advocates for a popular uprising to oust Prime Minister Hun Sen and arranged the printing of the shirts from abroad.

Two of the three men admitted to being hired to transport the shirts, but all denied membership in the movement or any wrongdoing.

Along with the three men, the municipal court also convicted the movement’s self-exiled president, Sourn Serey Ratha, in absentia and sentenced him to seven years in jail with the added charge of incitement.

Mr. Sam Oeun, who also represents Mr. Serey Ratha, said his appeal would be filed in the coming days.

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