Radio Free never accepts money from corporations, governments or billionaires – keeping the focus on supporting independent media for people, not profits. Since 2010, Radio Free has supported the work of thousands of independent journalists, learn more about how your donation helps improve journalism for everyone.

Make a monthly donation of any amount to support independent media.





Hun Sen files defamation suit against human rights group spokesperson

The lawsuit is the latest to target a critic of powerful Cambodian politicians.

Former Prime Minister Hun Sen and the ruling Cambodian People’s Party on Monday sued the spokesperson of human rights group ADHOC, accusing him of defamation in his recent criticism of the ruling party’s legal actions toward a leading opposition figure.

Party lawyers demanded 2 billion riel (US$500,000) in damages in the lawsuit against Soeung Sengkaruna filed in Phnom Penh Municipal Court.

The complaint signed by three lawyers for the Cambodian People’s Party, or CPP, said that Sengkaruna commented last week to The Cambodia Daily that the party has used its influence with the courts to put pressure on its political opponents.

The lawsuit is the latest to target a critic of powerful Cambodian politicians. In November, a Banteay Meanchey man was sentenced to three years in prison for comments he made on Facebook over the CPP’s inability to prevent illegal immigration from Vietnam and drug use.

Last year, the Supreme Court upheld a US$1 million defamation judgment against Son Chhay, the vice president of the opposition Candlelight Party.

A lower court in 2022 ordered Son Chhay to pay the amount to the CPP and the National Election Committee following comments he made about local commune elections, which he said was marred by irregularities.

According to the lawsuit, Sengkaruna told The Cambodia Daily that the CPP should seek to compete with opposition politicians in the political realm, such as through free and fair elections, rather than through court complaints.

The Cambodia Daily newspaper closed in Phnom Penh in 2017. It was relaunched later that year as a Khmer- and English-language online news outlet based in the United States.

The outlet cited Sengkaruna’s paraphrased comments in a Khmer-language article on Friday. He was not directly quoted.

Hun Sen’s online threat

The lawsuit claims that Sengkaruna’s remarks seriously damaged the CPP's reputation and deliberately harmed the upcoming Feb. 25 Senate election.

It was filed the day after Hun Sen made remarks on Facebook threatening to sue Sengkaruna for commenting on the Son Chhay case. After stepping down as prime minister in August, Hun Sen was named president of the CPP.

Sengkaruna declined to comment about the CPP’s lawsuit when contacted by Radio Free Asia.

However, on Facebook he said his comments in the article were aimed at promoting “respect for human rights, law, social justice and democracy” without serving any particular political party.

“Any paraphrasing of my words to add or leave out [the meaning] in order to attack directly on the name of a political party was not my intention and goal,” he wrote on Facebook.

Sengkaruna has been actively involved in the promotion of human rights in Cambodia for more than 20 years, Am Sam Ath of human rights group Licadho told RFA.

“He is always active in helping people with land grabbing and other rights violations, and in asking the relevant authorities to intervene to find a solution for the people,” he said.

On Facebook, Sengkaruna added a note of thanks to friends and supporters.

“Thank you very much for the kind words, greetings and concerns from my family, friends, media, civil society, international partners and foreign diplomatic friends for my safety,” he wrote. “I’m fine.”

Translated by Sok Ry Sum. Edited by Matt Reed and Malcolm Foster.


This content originally appeared on Radio Free Asia and was authored by By RFA Khmer.


Print Share Comment Cite Upload Translate Updates

Leave a Reply

APA

By RFA Khmer | Radio Free (2024-02-05T22:19:33+00:00) Hun Sen files defamation suit against human rights group spokesperson. Retrieved from https://www.radiofree.org/2024/02/05/hun-sen-files-defamation-suit-against-human-rights-group-spokesperson/

MLA
" » Hun Sen files defamation suit against human rights group spokesperson." By RFA Khmer | Radio Free - Monday February 5, 2024, https://www.radiofree.org/2024/02/05/hun-sen-files-defamation-suit-against-human-rights-group-spokesperson/
HARVARD
By RFA Khmer | Radio Free Monday February 5, 2024 » Hun Sen files defamation suit against human rights group spokesperson., viewed ,<https://www.radiofree.org/2024/02/05/hun-sen-files-defamation-suit-against-human-rights-group-spokesperson/>
VANCOUVER
By RFA Khmer | Radio Free - » Hun Sen files defamation suit against human rights group spokesperson. [Internet]. [Accessed ]. Available from: https://www.radiofree.org/2024/02/05/hun-sen-files-defamation-suit-against-human-rights-group-spokesperson/
CHICAGO
" » Hun Sen files defamation suit against human rights group spokesperson." By RFA Khmer | Radio Free - Accessed . https://www.radiofree.org/2024/02/05/hun-sen-files-defamation-suit-against-human-rights-group-spokesperson/
IEEE
" » Hun Sen files defamation suit against human rights group spokesperson." By RFA Khmer | Radio Free [Online]. Available: https://www.radiofree.org/2024/02/05/hun-sen-files-defamation-suit-against-human-rights-group-spokesperson/. [Accessed: ]
rf:citation
» Hun Sen files defamation suit against human rights group spokesperson | By RFA Khmer | Radio Free | https://www.radiofree.org/2024/02/05/hun-sen-files-defamation-suit-against-human-rights-group-spokesperson/ |

Please log in to upload a file.




There are no updates yet.
Click the Upload button above to add an update.

You must be logged in to translate posts. Please log in or register.