A Phnom Penh businessman who has sued League for Democracy Party (LDP) President Khem Veasna for public insult told a prosecutor that the politician’s statements about the Khmer race had “affected our honor,” he said on Sunday.
Soch Soeung also submitted two video clips of Mr. Veasna’s speeches to the Phnom Penh Municipal Court during questioning on Friday, he said.
“Since I started using Facebook and I listened to him speak during forums, each time my feelings were very hurt,” he said. “He said that those who do not understand him are dogs.”
Mr. Soeung added that he “requested that the court punish [Mr. Veasna] according to the law and ask him to write a letter publicly apologizing to all Cambodian people and stop the insulting.”
According to the Criminal Code, “‘Insult’ shall mean outrageous expression, term of contempt or any invective that does not involve any imputation of fact,” punishable by a fine of 100,000 to 10 million riel, or about $25 to $2,500, if it is uttered in a public place.
In one clip, from a forum with LDP supporters in Kompong Speu province in February that was posted to the party’s Facebook page, Mr. Veasna says: “First, the Khmer already has its name. The Khmer country already has its name in the United Nations. Second, I so detest this race, that Khmer race.”
Mr. Veasna could not be reached on Sunday, but Chen Thon, the LDP’s general secretary, said in a message that the LDP president had not received a court summons as of on Sunday.
On Thursday, Mr. Thon said in an email that the accusation that Mr. Veasna detested his own race did “not reflect the truth.”
If he did despise Khmer people, Mr. Thon said, Mr. Veasna would not have established the LDP to provide Cambodians with political knowledge and opportunities to “gain the powers to take charge of the country.”
“Bad people, who have seen their interests jeopardized when people gain knowledge, have been trying to confuse the people because they were able to take advantage of the people’s ignorance,” Mr. Thon said, without identifying the “bad people.”
“It is these people who have tried to paint us and accuse that we look down on Cambodians in general because they know that the constant growth of LDP will prevent their exploitation of the people,” he said.
The LDP won four commune council seats in the June 4 commune elections, down from eight seats in the 2012 elections, according to the National Election Committee’s official results released on Sunday and a 2013 report from the Committee for Free and Fair Elections.