Jailed opposition activist Ouk Pich Samnang said during a Court of Appeal hearing on Thursday that his rage was directed at Prime Minister Hun Sen, not local authorities, when he drove his tuk-tuk through a metal barricade during a protest in Phnom Penh, earning him two years in prison.
Mr. Pich Samnang was found guilty in September of intentional violence and obstructing authorities during the protest over land evictions in October 2014 outside Mr. Hun Sen’s villa in Daun Penh district. Several security guards said that they were injured in the incident.
“I cannot accept the two-year sentence in jail because I did nothing wrong,” Mr. Pich Samnang told the court. “I just yelled to demand the resolution of a land dispute in front of Samdech’s [Hun Sen’s] house.”
The activist, who is also serving seven years for “joining an insurrection” over his involvement in a separate protest at Freedom Park, said he did not have anything against authorities but had reason to resent the premier.
“I do not want revenge against authorities, but Hun Sen is an enemy to me because he is the leader that destroyed the nation and hurt the people,” he said.
Kim Vutha, chief of the Daun Penh district security guards, told the court that five of his men were injured by Mr. Pich Samnang and others during a clash at the protest.
However, Ly Sochetra, Mr. Pich Samnang’s lawyer, said no evidence had been presented to the court to prove that anyone had been injured.
Victim statements said they were treated at Calmette Hospital and had hospital receipts, “but I haven’t seen hospital receipts in the documents,” he said.
sovuthy@cambodiadaily.com
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