The Appeal Court yesterday upheld a one-year sentence for Areng activist Ven Vorn, who was convicted in March by the Koh Kong Provincial Court for his alleged involvement in “forest crimes” and released on a suspended sentence.
Vorn was accused by Koh Kong’s Forestry Administration of harvesting forest products without authorisation and for tampering with evidence after he purchased purportedly illegal timber to build a community centre, though the second charge was ultimately dropped for lack of proof.
Having spent three months in pre-trial detention, the provincial judge suspended the seven months remaining on his sentence.
While Vorn was not present at court yesterday, judge Kim Dany announced a brief verdict denying the activist’s appeal, but giving no reasons for his ruling.
Vorn’s attorney, Chan Socheat, said that the Forestry Administration officials were not present during the September 9 trial, denying him the opportunity to cross-examine them. He said he has yet to ask Vorn if he intended to file a further appeal. “I have not discussed with my client yet . . . but if he wants to file it, it is up to him”.
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