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Terrorism verdict slammed

Bangladeshi authorities have strongly condemned the conviction of
three men on terror charges at Phnom Penh Municipal Court today, in a
case that has sent shockwaves throughout Cambodia’s South Asian
Rafiqul Islam attempts to speak to reporters after his conviction at Phnom Penh Municipal Court yesterday. Photo by: Pha Lina
In a hearing today, Judge Sin Visal sentenced
Bangladeshi nationals Rafiqul Islam, 42, and Miah Muhammed Huymayan
Kabir, 62, an Nepali DP Paudel, 44, to eight years prison after finding
them guilty under the Kingdom’s anti-terrorism law.
He added that Paudel will also be deported following his release from jail.
three were arrested in April 2010, after letters allegedly bearing
their names were sent to the British, American and Australian embassies
in Phnom Penh threatening an impending terrorist attack.
Visal said in court that the letter “threatened national and
international security” and “proves a conspiracy of terrorism” by the
three men.
He added that although the accused pleaded innocent, there was not enough evidence to disprove their involvement in the case.
Haque, a minister at the Bangladeshi embassy in Bangkok, expressed his
concern over the case today, saying he was “extremely disappointed” by
the verdict.
“I don’t know what other evidence police could
reveal, but if it is based primarily on an anonymous letter then that
is very unfortunate,” he said via email.
“We certainly expected
both the Bangladeshis would be released as there was no strong evidence
in that letter. However, we have confidence in the court that if there
is a chance of appeal then proper justice will be made.”
The men
have 30 days to appeal the verdict and Islam’s defence lawyer Moun
Sokun confirmed today that he has already put in motion a complaint to
the Appeal Court.
“The judge sentenced him to eight years and I
think that is not a fair decision, because the evidence is not strong
enough to provide the judge [with the capacity] to make a judgment
about this case,” Moun Sokun said today.
“But that is the right of the judge and my client and I will appeal the verdict.”
Islam’s wife Chum Bi, 37, was visibly distraught after the verdict, saying the outcome of the trial was clearly unjust.
maintained his innocence after the proceedings, shouting to his family
and members of the South Asian community that he was not involved in
the case, before being ushered back to Prey Sar prison.
Chum Bi
added that a number of vendors from Phnom Penh’s Phsar Kandal market,
where the couple’s restaurant was located, thumb-printed a petition
calling for his release.
“This is not real justice for my
husband, he is innocent. I nearly died after the hearing. If my husband
is wrong, give him a life sentence and I will not complain,” Chum Bi
said today.
She also claimed she suffered a heart attack after
Islam’s arrest, adding that he is in poor health with diabetes and that
their restaurant was forced to close, which has jeopardised their
family’s financial future.
“I will struggle so that Prime Minister Hun Sen and the King Father can hear this case,” she added.
Representatives of the British and Australian embassies in Phnom Penh declined to comment today.
US Embassy spokesman said the government was working closely with
Cambodian officials at all levels on these issues and that Cambodia
remains a “key partner in the region to address terrorist threats”.
we do not think that terrorism is currently a problem in the country,
issues such as porous borders have been linked to terrorist acts in the
past,” embassy spokesman Mark Wenig said today.  ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY PHAK SEANGLY
Phnom Penh Post
Categories: Local News
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