SRP President Sam Rainsy has announced his intention to sue CTN officials who he claims defamed him by broadcasting comments made by an SRP defector accusing Sam Rainsy of being involved with several violent plots.
Last week, CTN repeatedly aired comments by defector Lek Bun Neagn in which he claimed Sam Rainsy and the SRP were linked to a 1998 assassination attempt on Prime Minister Hun Sen and the 2000 attack led by the Cambodian Freedom Fighters on several government buildings that left at least four dead. Lek Bun Neagn also claimed the SRP had ties to the Angkor Empire movement, which is supposedly an armed force aiming to take back former Khmer territories now part of Vietnam and Thailand.
“The CTN broadcast has affected my reputation and the security of our party,” Sam Rainsy said Tuesday by telephone.
Sam Rainsy said that it is widely known that Lek Bun Neagn suffers from mental problems, and that CTN was therefore irresponsible in airing an interview they knew wasn’t credible.
“I will sue CTN, he said. “They allowed people with mental problems to accuse me and the SRP. They defamed me and the SRP. They disseminated false information.”
On Sunday, Hun Sen ordered a military investigation into the SRP’s involvement in the plots Lek Bun Neagn mentioned. Sam Rainsy said Tuesday that he believes the premier’s comments were motivated by a personal vendetta.
Sam Rainsy’s lawyer, Kong Sam Onn, said he intends to file the suit with the Phnom Penh court this morning.
On Tuesday, Chhum Kosal, CTN news program deputy director, stood by the broadcasts. He said Lek Bun Neagn was approached by independent journalists at his home in Pursat province and then invited CTN to report on a press conference he held.
“CTN did not organize the interview. CTN did not engineer this case…. It is wrong to file a lawsuit against CTN,” he said.
Chhum Kosal said it was not possible for CTN to include an SRP perspective in the broadcast given time constraints.
“Television cannot take all sides,” he said.
CPP National Assembly First Vice President Nguon Nhel said Tuesday that Sam Rainsy’s lawsuit is aimed at diluting the investigations.
“Sam Rainsy is wounded. He cannot confront the truth,” he said.
Sam Rainsy said Tuesday he will also be filing a lawsuit against the masterminds of the 1997 grenade attack and asking the court to reopen investigations into this matter based on new information provided by jailed former Phnom Penh municipal police chief Heng Pov.
Nguon Nhel said Heng Pov’s testimony was biased and would not be viable in a court of law.