Disabled CNRP Supporter to Be Released, Court Orders

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Phun Yuth sells souvenirs in Siem Reap on December 27, 2018, in a photo shared by CNRP acting president Sam Rainsy on Facebook.

The Appeal Court ordered the release of a disabled opposition supporter who was imprisoned for more than five months for a “public insult” against Prime Minister Hun Sen.

The Siem Reap Provincial Court on October 31 had sentenced Phun Yuth, who has also been referred to as Thun Yuth, to 18 months in prison on charges of “incitement” and “public insult.” Yuth had said on Facebook that he wanted a new prime minister.

His arrest sparked outrage on social media. 

Lawyer Sam Titseyha told VOD that the Appeal Court sentenced Yuth to five months and eight days on Thursday, while suspending the rest of the 18 months — exactly the term that Yuth has already served since being arrested on July 18.

“The judge’s decision to release [him] is based on several reasons. The accused is a disabled man. Second, he changed his behavior to be a good person and said he can adapt to society. Third, he accepted that what he previously did went too far,” he said. 

Yuth has a disability that prevents him from walking.

Yuth shared videos in which he commented on societal issues in Cambodia, such as the potential withdrawal of the Everything But Arms agreement, under which the country can export to the European Union tariff-free. The E.U. has threatened to withdraw it, citing human rights concerns.

Lim Sophal, head of the casefile unit at Siem Reap prison, told VOD on Friday afternoon that he has not yet received an order to release Yuth.

(Translated and edited from the original article on VOD Khmer)

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