A university student in Phnom Penh has been arrested and charged with incitement over a Facebook post he made earlier this month calling for a “color revolution,” an official said Sunday.
Police from the Interior Ministry’s central security department arrested Kong Raya, 25, when he arrived for class at Khemarak University at 4:40 p.m. on Friday, according to ministry spokesman Khieu Sopheak.
General Sopheak said Mr. Raya was questioned at the department’s headquarters on Friday evening and the next day charged by the Phnom Penh Municipal Court with incitement to commit a felony.
“Our authorities arrested the youth because he posted on his Facebook account…appealing for people to join the color revolution to topple the government,” he said. “The court charged him on Saturday afternoon and he is now in pretrial detention at Prey Sar prison.”
If found guilty, Mr. Raya faces up to two years in prison.
In his August 7 Facebook post, a screenshot of which was posted to the website of the Fresh News service over the weekend, Mr. Raya vowed to start a “color revolution” in Cambodia.
“Does anyone dare to make a color revolution with me? One day, in the future, I will make a color revolution to change the regime for Khmer society, and even if I’m jailed or killed, I will still make it,” he wrote.
Mr. Raya’s Facebook account appeared to have been taken offline as of Sunday evening.
General Sopheak said the student’s actions were disappointing.
“We are grieving for this young man because he wanted to study, but he also believed incitement propaganda spread by a political party that wanted to take over power,” he said, declining to elaborate.
“We also plan to arrest journalists if they write about a color revolution to destroy the peace, because the law requires us to do so, and Prey Sar will welcome those journalists,” he added.
Am Sam Ath, technical supervisor for rights group Licadho, who was present at the municipal court on Saturday, said Sunday that Mr. Raya was charged by Investigating Judge Lean Samnath under Article 495 of the criminal code.
He said the student’s arrest was likely a result of recent threats by the government to take action against those seeking to overthrow the state.
“I think no one is stupid enough to carry out a revolution against the government because the plan would have to be a decision by all members of a group if they want to change the regime,” Mr. Sam Ath said.
“I think the arrest was made to intimidate young people because the government doesn’t want other youths to voice their opinions regarding a color revolution,” he said.
Investigating Judge Samnath declined to comment.