Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Raiya released as Adhoc officials mark 300 days

Raiya released as Adhoc officials mark 300 days

Kong Raiya speaks to the press after his release from Prey Sar prison yesterday in Phnom Penh.
Kong Raiya speaks to the press after his release from Prey Sar prison yesterday in Phnom Penh. Heng Chivoan

Raiya released as Adhoc officials mark 300 days

University student Kong Raiya was released from Prey Sar prison yesterday after serving an 18-month sentence for a social media post calling on Cambodians to mount a colour revolution – a term that, despite its non-violent associations, has become something of a red cape to the ruling party.

Raiya was arrested in August 2015 and convicted of “incitement” in March the following year after he used a Facebook post to call on Cambodians to “launch a colour revolution” in order to replace the “cheap regime” running the country, an apparent reference to the ruling Cambodian People’s Party.

“Colour revolution” is a term commonly used to refer to non-violent uprisings that have toppled governments in the Middle East and Eastern Europe.

“I am not afraid and I already know what prison is,” Raiya said outside of Prey Sar yesterday. “I will continue to express these opinions even more actively than before.”

Raiya said he would return to his studies with the aim of working in the education sector, but lamented the “hellish” conditions at Prey Sar.

“There are 30 prisoners per cell and they smoke hundreds of cigarettes,” he said.

Licadho’s Am Sam Ath said that while he was pleased to see Raiya leave prison, he shouldn’t have been there in the first place. “He was charged with incitement; that affects his right to freedom of expression, and this will be like a threat to other youth as well,” he said.

Speaking by phone later, Raiya said that he “was also not allowed to meet other political prisoners, and had to argue a lot to meet Adhoc staffers at jail”.

Yesterday marked 300 days since the five current and former rights workers – Adhoc’s Lim Mony, Nay Vanda, Ny Sokha and Yi Soksan, and the National Election Committee’s Ny Chakrya – were jailed for a case related to a sex scandal surrounding CNRP acting president Kem Sokha.

The five were arrested on “bribery” charges after Sokha’s alleged mistress, Khom Chandaraty, to whom Adhoc had been providing assistance, accused them of asking her to lie about her alleged affair with the opposition leader.

Since the Adhoc arrests last April, Sokha and a Sam Rainsy Party commune chief, Seang Chet, have been convicted and pardoned in relation to the scandal, but a hoped-for political deal in December that would have seen the five released yielded no results.

All seven of the cases are widely believed to be politically motivated.

MOST VIEWED

  • First deportees of the year touch down in Cambodia

    Twenty-five Cambodian-Americans landed in Phnom Penh on Wednesday, marking the first such deportations of the year. “On Wednesday, US law enforcement authorities deported 25 Cambodian nationals that immigration judges determined had no legal basis to remain in the US,” said Arend Zwartjes, spokesperson for the US

  • Qatar Airways to connect Doha and Siem Reap town

    Qatar Airways Company QCSC has announced a new route connecting Qatar’s capital Doha with Siem Reap, a move hailed by local officials as a significant step to boost tourist numbers. A Qatar Airways representative, speaking at the Kuwait Aviation Show, announced on Thursday that

  • Sokha defence denies Tech’s claims

    ON DAY two of Kem Sokha’s treason trial, lawyers for the government said the defence had raised questions in an attempt to allow their client to make a public statement and a conclusion to the case, something his legal team denied. Ky Tech, a

  • Call for boycott of Angkor unacceptable

    Dear Editor, I wish to express my strong disagreement on the article published by Traveller for their website with the title Best places to go in 2020: 12 destinations you should avoid. Below is my opinion of the article. It is obviously free for the Traveller to

  • Probe underway after wreckage of drone with Chinese characters found

    Air Force Command spokesman Prak Sokha said on Sunday that investigations are underway regarding the wreckage of a drone that was recovered in Koh Kong province’s Koh Sdech commune in Kiri Sakor district. The wreckage has been taken to the capital for further examination,

  • Gov’t slams UN rapporteurs over Sokha trial statement

    The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation and the Permanent Mission of the Kingdom of Cambodia to the UN Office in Geneva deplored the statement of three UN special rapporteurs who claimed that Kem Sokha’s trial was “tainted” due to irregularities. The reaction