Prosecutor Says Defamation Lawsuit Should Be Dismissed

A criminal defamation lawsuit against Global Witness country director Eva Galabru will likely be dis­missed in the next few weeks, Phnom Penh Municipal Court prosecutor Khut Sopheang said Sunday.

The lawsuit, filed Wednesday by several officials from the Minis­try of Agriculture’s Forestry De­partment, does not have ground to stand on, he said. “We could not find the wrongdoing,” he said. “They accused her, but she did not make a mistake.”

The lawsuit stems from a re­port written last year after a Glo­bal Witness investigation into logging practices in Siem Reap pro­vince. The environmental watchdog has served as the government’s independent forestry monitor since 1999.

One logging company is ac­cused in the report of illegally cutting resin trees. The report also said Forestry Depart­ment staff may have been in­volved in illegal activ­ity.

Galabru “is a foreigner. She came to help Cambodia,” Khut So­pheang said. “She earns nothing from our country. How can we file a complaint against her? It is not right at all.”

Dismissal of the suit will be official when he presents it to a judge within two weeks, Khut So­pheang said.

He said he expects the judge to follow his recom­men­dation.

 

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