CNRP Activist’s Son Gets Retrial in Incitement Case

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Kak Sovannchhay and his mother Prum Chantha walk out of the Supreme Court in Phnom Penh on October 12, 2022. (Hy Chhay/VOD)
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The Supreme Court has asked a lower court to retry an incitement conviction against the teenage son of a jailed opposition activist and to keep in mind his status as a minor.

The teenager, Kak Sovannchhay, was arrested for alleged incitement and insult of public officials for sending messages in private groups, and was convicted by the Phnom Penh Municipal Court in November. He was sentenced to eight months in prison, which was shortened to 4 months and 15 days with two years probation.

He was released from prison in November 2021, the same month as his conviction, with the verdict upheld by the Appeal Court in March this year.

Supreme Court judge Kong Srim announced on Wednesday that the Appeal Court in Phnom Penh must retry the case, and give consideration to the teenager’s age and other conditions.

Sam Sokong, the teenager’s lawyer, said the lower court should have refrained from convicting his client, who was a minor, and instead educated him if he had done something wrong.

He said the two-year court supervision ruling was also excessive and unjust for the teenager and his family.

Prum Chantha, the teenager’s mother and advocate for her son’s and husband’s release, said there was no excuse for what her family has endured. 

“For me, it was unacceptable from the beginning. From the arrest of his father … they have hurt my child and then they send my child to prison,” she said.

The teenager’s family has decried the boy’s arrest and has said he has autism. The father, Kak Komphear, has been convicted in at least two cases for incitement and plotting in relation to his alleged involvement in Sam Rainsy’s attempt to return to the country in November 2019.

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