A Phnom Penh municipal judge on Friday sentenced a 27-year-old man migrant laborer to two years in prison over a post to his Facebook page that threatened the life of the prime minister.
Presiding Judge Ly Sokleng also fined Ven Sopheap 2 million riel, or about $500, in a case that was noteworthy because no complaint had been filed, in comparison to Facebook threats against opposition leader Kem Sokha last year that were dismissed by authorities who said they had no ability to investigate the case without such a complaint.
Ven Sopheap is escorted out of the Phnom Penh Municipal Court earlier on February (Siv Channa/The Cambodia Daily)Mr. Sopheap was arrested in October after returning from Thailand to his family’s home in Prey Veng province. He confessed to posting two Facebook posts that prosecutors said justified criminal charges of making a death threat and inciting discrimination
Along with one video, Mr. Sopheap wrote: “Hun Sen oy, today is the day of your death.’
In a comment on another video of Prime Minister Hun Sen paying a visit to the provinces, he wrote: “Beheading Yuons is the duty of all Khmer children,” using an often derogatory term for Vietnamese people.
Mr. Sopheap, who had asked the court for leniency, saying that he had only realized after the fact that his Facebook posts might be illegal, said after the verdict that he would not challenge the sentence, as it could have been longer. Together, the charges could have resulted in a term of up to *five years in prison.
“For me, I’m OK. This decision was not longer, so I will not appeal,” he said. “I have not prepared to start anything, so it is nothing to give me so much worry.”
He added, however, that he didn’t knowingly commit a crime.
“In my understand at the time, I only wanted to express my feelings,” he said.
odom@cambodiadaily.com*
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