According to an order from investigating judge Key Manera, Rithy was charged under articles 494 and 495 of the Criminal Code and sent to Phnom Penh’s P.J. prison for pre-trial detention. If found guilty, he faces up to two years in prison.
The Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Thursday charged Sovann Rithy, the head of online news outlet TVFB, with “incitement to commit felonies” for a Facebook post in which he reported the advice from Prime Minister Hun Sen that motorbike taxi drivers sell their vehicles if left penniless as coronavirus hits the economy.
The Tuesday Facebook post featured an image of a motorbike taxi driver with a quote taken from Hun Sen’s press conference earlier that day: “If motorbike-taxi drivers go bankrupt, sell your motorbikes for spending money. The government does not have the ability to help.” Rithy also posted a video commentary on the same night, but his page was taken down on Information Ministry orders.