A Woman Throws a Sandal at Cambodian People’s Party billboard Was Release

Sam Sokha was released from prison on Feb. 9 after serving a four-year sentence in prison for throwing a sandal at a Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) billboard. Photo from LICADHO

She was first sentenced in 2017 for insulting and inciting discrimination

PHNOM PENH--Sam Sokha was released from prison on Feb. 9 after serving a four-year sentence in prison for throwing a sandal at a Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) billboard.



However, Kampong Speu Provincial Court ordered her to pay 10 million riel in fine--only gave her one day to find the money for the court.



Paying 10 million riel is a challenge for Sam Sokha, however, she has already sought 10 million riel to pay in court by borrowing from her aunt.



Am Sam Ath, monitoring manager at local rights group LICADHO, said that by law, those who were released from prison could face up to six months in prison if they did not pay their dues.



He believes that the court should give Sam Sokha some suitable time so that she can afford it.



"One day she could not afford to raise enough money. If she has the property to sell, she has not sold yet, not to mention there are no things to sell,” Sam Ath stated. Added that even though she paid 10 million riel in court, Samath still considered giving her one day off as pressure on her.



Vith Makha, Deputy Prosecutor and Spokesman for the Kampong Speu Provincial Court could not be reached for comment.



Sam Sokha, 40, was born in Takeo province, who was previously was a garment worker at a factory in Kampong Speu province, was twice times of convicted by the court charged over “insult” and “incitement to discriminate”.



She was first sentenced in 2017 to two years in prison and fined 5 million riel for insulting and inciting discrimination. She was accused of throwing a sandal at photos of the prime minister and of Heng Samrin, Honorary President of the CPP and President of the National Assembly.



She threw twice, the first at the picture of Hun Sen and the second at Heng Samrin. During the throwing, she said with laughing and called them "ah" and "a destroyer of the nation."



The court began to take action against her after a short video of her throwing a CPP tag was posted on social media in 2017. In fact, she issued a letter of apology from them, but still did not escape the trial.



In the first trial, Sokha was convicted in absentia as she fled to Thailand. She was later deported to Cambodia by Thai authorities. She was arrested after arriving back in Cambodia, and the court sentenced her for the second time in 2018 for insult.



The court sentenced her to two years in prison and fined her 5 million riel for each case. In total, she was imprisoned for 4 years and paid 10 million riel.


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