The Press Council of Cambodia said yesterday that Information Minister Khieu Kanharith had agreed to intervene in the case of jailed journalist Ros Sokhet.
Mr Kanharith, however, said he was still only considering getting involved in the case. “I might try to be involved in the case. The problem is Sokhet sent an English letter to me to intervene,” Mr Kanharith said by e-mail, without commenting further.
Sok Sovann, president of the Press Council of Cambodia, said that 10 journalists had met with Mr Kanharith yesterday to help secure the release of Mr Sokhet.
“The Minister agreed to intervene in this case with the Justice Minister after he receives a letter from Ros Sokhet in Khmer language,” Mr Sovann said.
Despite receiving an English-language letter from the jailed journalist, Mr Kanharith required another Khmer-language version before writing to Mr Vong Vathana over his possible release, Mr Sovann said.
Mr Sokhet is more than eleven months into a two-year prison sentence for sending a series of text messages to television personality Soy Sopheap last October questioning whether the news anchor extorted money from Ke Dara, the jailed wife of an adviser to National Assembly President Heng Samrin.
Ros Dara, Mr Sokhet’s sister, said that she forwarded a Khmer-language letter from her brother to the Information Ministry’s media center last Tuesday. In the letter Mr Sokhet explained that he had been in jail for nearly a year with poor health and was unable to look after his elderly mother, Ms Dara said.
Yem Noy, director of the Information Ministry’s media center, said that he received Mr Sokhet’s letter last week but had been too busy to forward it to the Mr Kanharith’s cabinet. “I got a letter from Ros Sokhet’s sister Ros Dara on Tuesday and I plan to send it to the Information Minister this week,” Mr Noy said.
(Additional reporting by Alice Foster)