A Change of Guard

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Wednesday, 11 May 2016

KNLF ‘traitor’ appeals sentence

Alleged members of the Khmer National Liberation Front, a dissident group labelled as a terrorist organisation by the government, appear at court last year in Phnom Penh. Heng Chivoan

KNLF ‘traitor’ appeals sentence
Tue, 10 May 2016 ppp
Kim Sarom

A member of the Khmer National Liberation Front (KNLF) serving a seven-year jail sentence for bringing books written by the party’s leader into Cambodia and allegedly using a forged passport appeared in the Appeals Court yesterday.

Hin Chan, 34, was found guilty last year of “conspiracy to commit treason and using a fake passport” after he was arrested in 2014 on his way back to Phnom Penh from Thailand.

He was carrying 250 copies of a book written by Sam Serey, leader of the KNLF, which is classified as a terrorist organisation, and a friend’s passport with his own photograph pasted inside.

The prosecution claimed Chan had planned to distribute the books, which were critical of the Cambodian government.

In court yesterday, Chan said it had not been his intention to distribute the books, rather he was bringing them as evidence in another Appeals Court case.

“The book describes the political situation in Cambodia and the root cause of the January 7 victory [over the Khmer Rouge in 1979]. It also teaches people about their rights,” Chan said.

He went on to request that his sentence be reduced and the conviction for forgery be overturned since the passport had not been checked by police when he entered through the O’Smach crossing. “If the police did not check, I did not use it.”

More than a dozen KNLF members have been jailed for allegedly attempting to overthrow the government. The group’s founder, Sam Serey, currently resides in Denmark.

The result of the appeal is due on May 17.

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