Cambodian opposition MP jailed for Facebook post

Sam An claimed to have found original maps of Cambodian-Vietnamese border that contradict those currently in use 

Cambodian opposition MP jailed for Facebook post

World Bulletin / News Desk

A Cambodian opposition lawmaker was jailed for 2 1/2 years Monday for a Facebook post he made last year about maps used to try and settle a border dispute with neighboring Vietnam.

Rights group Licadho said Monday that during the hearing, “Um Sam An and his lawyers made repeated complaints that the trial amounted to a violation of his constitutional rights to parliamentary immunity and freedom of expression before leaving the court in protest. Trial judge Heng Sokna completed the hearing in their absence.”

Sam An, a member of parliament for the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), was arrested in April.

The year before, he had questioned the originality of maps loaned to Cambodia by the United Nations’ New York-based Dag Hammarskjold Library, and which were being used to compare the country’s borders with the Cambodian government’s own maps.

The CNRP has repeatedly claimed that the border with Vietnam has not been properly demarcated, which has led to encroachment and dispossession of land.

The borders on the UN and Cambodian maps lined up, but Sam An had said on Facebook that he had found other scaled maps that predated those sent over by the UN.

That was enough to have him charged with committing a “flagrant offence” and, in addition to the jail sentence, the lawmaker was also levied with a $1,000 fine.

CNRP spokesman Yim Sovann told the Anadolu Agency on Monday that the trial was “politically motivated” and “against the Constitution, because he still has immunity and then they arrest him, put him in jail and try him”.

“It’s illegal detention and we would like to appeal to the stakeholders to come to the meeting and try to find a peaceful solution,” he said, referring to the ruling Cambodian People’s Party.

On Friday, the CNRP’s 55 lawmakers again refused to take their seats as the latest session of parliament opened.

On Monday, Sovann told Anadolu Agency that the refusal was not a boycott.

“The duty of MPs is to meet the people, listen to demands and we have brought the message from the grassroots level to the government. We will go to the National Assembly to attend a meeting when we think it is appropriate and useful for the people.”

In March, a university student was jailed for 18 months for making a Facebook post that called for a “color revolution” -- a term that has become synonymous with a wave of anti-government mass movements in recent years, mainly in the former Soviet bloc.


Güncelleme Tarihi: 10 Ekim 2016, 15:31