Reporter, rights activists acquitted in disinformation case

Takeo Provincial Court found a villager guilty of destruction of property on Friday, but acquitted four others, including a Radio Free Asia reporter, of disinformation and destruction of property charges, according to the human rights group Adhoc.

Ny San, who has been in prison since October, was sentenced to a five-month prison term and ordered to pay complainant Riem Math $250 in compensation for destruction of property, according to Adhoc provincial coordinator Hor Nead, who was in the courtroom on Friday.

He added that two Cambodian Center for Human Rights activists, Cheab Chiev and Khoem Sarum, villager Seb Sein and RFA reporter Sok Serey were acquitted of disinformation and destruction of property charges.

“The prosecution’s charges were very strong but the judge’s decision was a just one,” he said.

The case, which was heard in court on Feb 9, stemmed from a 2007 petition from families in the village located in Borei Cholsar district that demanded elections to choose new leaders for a local mosque.

They claimed that three people at the mosque, including Mr Math, the mosque’s imam, misused $2,500 in donations.

Mr Math filed a complaint with the court after Mr Serey interviewed the other suspects and reported the story in December, 2008.

Mr Serey declined to comment on the verdict, referring questions to his lawyer, Moung Sokun.

“The sentence was just and practiced the law correctly,” Mr Sokun said. “My client worked to his journalism code of ethics. He did not do anything wrong.”



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