Woman who accused Hun Sen of Kem Ley assassination on Facebook sentenced

Officials escort Hin Vansreypov out of the Ministry of Interior, where she was questioned before being sent to court in July 2017 for allegedly accusing Prime Minister Hun Sen of killing political analyst Kem Ley in a video posted on Facebook.
Officials escort Hin Vansreypov out of the Ministry of Interior, where she was questioned before being sent to court in July 2017 for allegedly accusing Prime Minister Hun Sen of killing political analyst Kem Ley in a video posted on Facebook. Heng Chivoan

A woman who accused Prime Minister Hun Sen of having ordered the assassination of popular political analyst Kem Ley was sentenced to a year in prison today for "incitement to commit a felony".

On July 9, 2017, the eve of the one-year anniversary of the brazen daylight murder of Ley, Hin Vansreypov uploaded a video to Facebook in which she accused the premier of orchestrating the assassination.

“The crimes are punishable according to articles 494 and 495 of the Criminal Code,” Judge Y Thavrak read from the judgement yesterday.

Article 494 defines incitement as speech, writing or audio-visual means of any kind, either pronounced in public or distributed publicly. Article 495 is defined as "incitement to commit a felony or disturb social security", and carries a sentence of six months to two years, even "if the incitement was ineffective". Authorities have never specified what felony Vansreypov is accused of inciting.

She was also fined 1 million riel (about $250).

“The accused has the right to file an appeal in accordance with the law," the judge added.

During her trial, Vansreypov admitted that she had accused Hun Sen of being involved in Ley’s murder, but said she did so in retaliation for personal criticism from ruling party supporters.

She said she would not file an appeal.

Ley, an outspoken critic of Hun Sen’s government, was murdered by a former soldier over an alleged outstanding debt. The motive was widely questioned, however, including by the murderer’s own wife, and many observers have suspected government involvement.

Political analyst Kim Sok is currently serving time over similar comments, and former opposition leader Sam Rainsy was also hit with a 20-month sentence for making the same suggestion in March, one of a host of convictions he has avoided while living in exile in France.