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Cambodian court reduces detained journalist's prison term

(SEAPA/IFEX) - Imprisoned Cambodian journalist Ros Sokhet was ordered released by the Appeal Court on 28 October 2010, almost a year after he was arrested on disinformation charges, media reports said.

The "Phnom Penh Post" said that although presiding judge Pol Sam Oeun upheld the lower court's conviction, the journalist's original two-year prison term was cut in half.

The case stemmed from accusations that Ros Sokhet sent threatening text messages to commentator and news anchor Soy Sopheap.

In November 2009, he was convicted of disinformation before the Phnom Penh Municipal Court and was sentenced to two years' imprisonment.

The "Phnom Penh Post" said the journalist's lawyer, Sam Sokong, said that he would still file an appeal to the Supreme Court despite Ros Sokhet's release in order to have the conviction overturned.

"It is unfair because the court does not have the evidence to accuse my client," Sam Sokong said. "On behalf of [my client], I will file a complaint to the Supreme Court."

Sam Rainsy Party spokesman Yim Sovann described the case against Ros Sokhet as "unjust", and said it was another example of political interference in the courts.

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