Retired King Planning To Sue Paper Over ‘Insulting’ Allegations

Retired King Norodom Siha­nouk on Sunday announced plans to sue a pro-SRP newspaper after it printed two front-page articles last week containing strong allegations about himself and the Khmer Rouge re­gime.

In a letter issued to reporters by e-mail, the retired King asked Roy­al Palace Minister Kong Sam Ol to begin a lawsuit on behalf of himself and Queen Norodom Monineath against Sralanh Khmer, its publisher and the author of the articles.

“A long article in the newspaper…has attacked me with horrible and very contemptuous and insulting calumnies which distort the History of our Country while very unjustly destroying my honor and that of the Khmer Monarchies of the 20th and 21st Centuries,” Noro­dom Sihanouk wrote.

In a two-part series which ap­peared on Thursday’s and Friday’s front pages, Sralanh Khmer published a lengthy essay attributed to a man named Yin Sem who, the newspaper said, is currently living in Dijon, France.

The articles make allegations concerning both Norodom Siha­nouk and Prime Minister Hun Sen, relating to the Khmer Rouge era.

Sralanh Khmer Editor Thach Keth said Sunday he was surprised to learn of the retired King’s reaction, adding that he had merely re­lated the views of another person.

“I couldn’t believe he is suing me because I just translated the Eng­lish version of Yin Sem’s article,” he said.

Thach Keth was also charged last month with disinformation and insulting Phnom Penh Municipal Court Director Chiv Keng after the newspaper printed articles in Jan­uary saying that police had disregarded court orders.

Information Minister and government spokesman Khieu Kan­harith de­clined to comment on Norodom Sihanouk’s threat of legal action. The government had not yet decided how to respond to the allegations ag­ainst Hun Sen, he said. “Maybe the law­yers will make some suggestion, but this is a low-grade newspaper,” he said.

“Why do we have to [have a] dispute with this newspaper?”

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