Foreign Affairs Minister Dodges Defamation Case

The Phnom Penh Municipal Court has thrown out a defamation case against Foreign Affairs Minister Hor Namhong that was filed by Khmer Power Party (KPP) President Sourn Serey Ratha in December after Mr. Namhong called the politician’s supporters terrorists.

Mr. Serey Ratha and three other men were convicted in January 2015 of plotting an attack against the government in a case widely seen as politically motivated and lacking inculpatory evidence, but have since received royal pardons.

He filed his lawsuit with the municipal court after Mr. Namhong, during a press conference in December, said members of Mr. Serey Ratha’s Khmer People’s Power Movement had “committed terrorism in Cambodia.”

On Tuesday, the KPP posted to Facebook a letter from deputy court prosecutor Meas Chanpiseth stating that the case had been thrown out.

The letter offers no explanation for the decision, and Mr. Chanpiseth could not be reached. KPP spokesman Tep Virak said the party would appeal the decision, which he said demonstrated the court’s lack of political independence.

“It shows that the court does not provide justice,” he said. Mr. Namhong’s lawyer, Kar Savuth, welcomed the decision.

He has argued that the foreign minister did not defame anyone because the words “plotting” and “terrorism” were more or less the same.

[email protected]

Related Stories

Latest News

The Weekly DispatchA weekly newsletter from The Cambodia Daily delivering news, analysis and opinion to your inbox. Published every Friday at 11:30am. Sign up today.