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Cambodia king reduces jail term of opposition MP

[JURIST] Responding to a petition from Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen [BBC profile], Cambodia's King Norodom Sihamoni [BBC profile] reduced the jail term of opposition politician Cheam Channy [Wikipedia profile] from seven years to three, officials said Friday. Cheam Channy, a member of the opposition Sam Rainsy Party (SRP) [party website], was arrested in early 2005, charged with attempting to form a group to overthrow the government and tried before a military court. After a one-day trial he was convicted and sentenced to seven years in prison. Diplomats and human rights groups have said the charges were trumped up and political in nature. A top advisor to the prime minister said the reduction in sentence was due to the fact that "Cheam Channy never sought the help of foreigners in pressuring Cambodia." It is possible that the prime minister will petition to have the remaining three years of Cheam Channy's sentence annulled. The leader of the opposition party, Sam Rainsy [BBC profile], was stripped of immunity at the same time as Cheam Channy and he immediately left the country [JURIST report]. Sam Rainsy was convicted in absentia on two counts of defaming political leaders and said last month that he will seek a royal pardon [JURIST report]. Reuters has more.

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