Teacher Jailed for Anti-Gov’t Lessons To Stand Trial

A university lecturer who was imprisoned in September for teaching anti-government lessons to his students will stand trial, despite claims by his family and lawyer that he is mentally ill, a judge said Wednesday.

Political philosophy teacher Tieng Narith, 30, was fired from the Sihanouk Raja Buddhist University and arrested on charges of disinformation after authorities discovered he was teaching from a self-penned book that was strongly anti-CPP and accused senior government officials of a myriad of crimes.

Shortly after his arrest, relatives claimed that Tieng Narith had deep psychological problems. While government-appointed medical experts have assessed his mental health, they have not revealed the results.

Phnom Penh Municipal Court Investigating Judge Sao Meach said Wednesday that he knew nothing of Tieng Narith’s alleged mental problems, and that the suspect will stand trial.

“The case was sent two weeks ago for trial,” he said, adding that he did not know when the hearing would be scheduled.

Lawyer Hong Kimsuon, of the Cambodian Defenders’ Project, said that he has requested the release of his client’s psychiatric assessment, which was conducted by Ka Sun Baunat, medical faculty director at the University of Health Sciences.

Hong Kimsuon said he has told Tieng Narith that he will go to trial and that his client has asked that officials named in his book be present to defend themselves in court.

“He wants anybody that he has affected to testify in front of him,” Hong Kimsuon said. “He said that he will tell the truth.”

Contacted Wednesday, Ka Sun Baunat confirmed that he conducted an examination of Tieng Narith and passed the results to the Min-istry of Health. He declined to reveal what is contained in his report and whether Tieng Narith is ill or healthy.

“My duty is finished. I sent it to the Ministry of Health,” he said, adding that he did not know where at the ministry the results might now be.



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