Retired King Takes Back Threat To Sue Media

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.

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