Lawsuit Dropped Against Editor After Apology, Promise To Run Correction

The president of the University of Cambodia said yesterday he had agreed to withdraw a lawsuit against the editor of the pro-Funcinpec weekly newspaper Khmer Amatak, Bun Tha, for alleged criminal disinformation and defamation.

Kao Kim Hourn, the university’s president and a CPP secretary of state at the Foreign Ministry, said he would drop the lawsuit filed over an article accusing him of profiting off students who paid to apply for a scholarship named after Prime Minister Hun Sen.

“I agreed to withdraw the lawsuit because Bun Tha apologized to me and agreed to run a correction,” Mr Kim Hourn said, referring further questions to his lawyer, who could not be reached for comment.

Mr Tha was previously scheduled to stand trial today at Phnom Penh Municipal Court after Khmer Amatak was sued last year for publishing an article claiming the university improperly charged students $5 to submit scholarship applications.

However, the trial was postponed at the request of Mr Tha, whose lawyer is abroad, Judge Te Sam Ang said, noting that the lawsuit had not yet ended.

Mr Tha said that he met yesterday with Mr Kim Hourn, who agreed to settle the case out of court after the newspaper promised to publish a correction.

“I really want to end this case and do not want to go to jail. I apologized to him and agreed to run the correction, so he accepted my request to withdraw the lawsuit,” Mr Tha said.

Information Minister and government spokesman Khieu Kanharith apparently sent a letter to Mr Kim Hourn on Friday requesting that he withdraw the lawsuit, according to a copy of the letter provided by Mr Tha.

“Recently Bun Tha wrote to the Information Ministry to request intervention on his behalf to apologize and request the removal of the lawsuit…. He promises to respect the rule of law and ethics,” the letter read.

Mr Kanharith could not be reached for comment yesterday.


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