Clerk Jailed for ‘Abusive’ Call to Heng Pov

Kompong Chhnang provincial Court Clerk Ly Sothy and his niece Vat Nakiny were sent to Prey Sar prison Monday after being charged with verbally abusing and threatening Phnom Penh Municipal Police Chief Heng Pov.

The detention order by Phnom Penh Municipal Court was blasted by Kompong Chhnang’s chief prosecutor. Legal experts are also questioning whether the arrest is lawful.

According to Heng Pov, Ly So­thy had threatened him by telephone and had demanded he ar­rest a Phnom Penh school teach­er that his niece Vat Nakiny had accused of beating her son.

“Both of them confessed to po­lice that they really used abusive words and threatened the police chief because he refused to arrest a teacher,” Chuon Narin, chief of Phnom Penh Municipal Serious Crime Department, said Monday.

Deputy Municipal Court Pros­e­cutor Yet Chakriya charged the pair with using abusive language and making threats, Chuon Narin said. He did not say which article of the law was cited. Calls to Yet Cha­kriya were unsuccessful Monday.

Mak Pany, Kompong Chhnang chief prosecutor, said the detention of his colleague Ly Sothy was not warranted by the law.

“Ly Sothy should not be arrested for using abusive words,” he said. “I have never charged even one person who used abusive words, defamed or threatened me di­rectly. There would not be enough space in the prisons if I decided to arrest these guys.”

“When anyone is angry, they can use bad words. It is not a crime,” he added.

Faculty of Law professor Bun Honn also questioned the charges on Monday.

“If he called on the phone and said, ‘Give me a thousand dollars or I will kill you,’ that is extortion, but to call up and threaten on the phone is not a crime in Cambo­dian law,” Bun Honn said.

Angry words are not criminal unless they are used to spread false facts about a person that damage his reputation, he added.

Heng Pov said Monday that he was not seeking compensation from the defendants.

“Money is not important to me. I want the court to give them some warnings, otherwise the court clerk will not stop threatening people,” he said.


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