Retired King Norodom Sihanouk argued for his right to file defamation lawsuits against Khmer language-media outlets to defend his honor, but then retracted any potential suit in two separate handwritten statements dated Monday and posted to his Web site Tuesday.
The retired King also claimed that he received on a daily basis e-mails denouncing Prime Minister Hun and Funcinpec President Prince Norodom Ranariddh but refrained from publishing them on his Web site or in his bulletins.
Over the weekend, Norodom Sihanouk requested that lawsuits be brought against Khmer-language media outlets that have in recent weeks broadcast anti-Sihanouk songs from the Lon Nol era.
“Are the Mass Media free to unjustly accuse me or another nontraitorious Khmer of having sold Cambodian land (or even worse)…to another country?” Norodom Sihanouk asked in the first Tuesday statement. The retired King said he was demanding no monetary damages, only an apology from the media outlets.
“Everyday, I receive E-mails from Khmer who insult (in writing), accuse and drag through the mud Samdech Hun Sen and, additionally, Samdech Ranariddh,” he wrote. “But never have I permitted myself to publish these insults.”
In his second statement, the retired King retracted his legal threat.
“Tonight, a Celebrity, of Paris, had the kindness to send me a fax in which he wrote me that…‘the courts….are not independent nor really competent,’” he wrote.
“Considering the ‘nature’ of our ‘national Justice’ and a possible accident that could happen to a courageous and loved Khmer lawyer, I have decided to declare myself ‘vanquished.’”
In a third and final letter, Norodom Sihanouk said his health had deteriorated rapidly over the last two weeks, adding that he would not be able to hold official audiences for the rest of 2005 or in 2006.