Chan Vichet, a representative of the former Dey Krahorm community, whose homes were bulldozed in 2009 to make way for development in Phnom Penh, was acquitted on Friday of defamation and forgery charges brought against him in 2005 by fellow evictees.
Five of Mr. Vichet’s alleged accomplices, who have not come before the Phnom Penh Municipal Court since proceedings began in 2005, were also acquitted in absentia.
“The charges against Mr. Chan Vichet and the others have been dropped,” Judge Ly Sok Leng announced, adding that there was no evidence against the six.
The complaint emerged when Mr. Vichet accused three community leaders—Sin Yikou, Phan Narin and Kim Yan—of conspiring to sell land to well-connected development firm 7NG, which spent years trying to take control of the prime real estate in Chamkar Mon district.
Mr. Vichet gathered the thumbprints of other aggrieved residents in a petition submitted to City Hall.
The three claimed that the petition was defamatory and that the thumbprints were fraudulent.