Sihanoukville Municipal Governor Say Hak has filed a defamation lawsuit against a Khmer-language newspaper over articles linking him to land grabbing, the governor said Feb 9.
“Let the court find justice. It is not acceptable,” Say Hak said of the articles printed in the Voice of Khmer Youth newspaper and the lawsuit filed at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court.
Say Hak declined to provide details of the articles in question.
The lawsuit, which was filed on Feb 7, involved articles printed between Jan 20 and Jan 25, Say Hak’s lawyer, Nout Tito, said Friday.
The articles defamed Say Hak by claiming he had taken villagers’ land, Nout Tito said, but he declined to say which villagers he was referring to or provide details of the articles.
“What the newspaper printed is not true and…the articles were printed repeatedly,” Nout Tito said.
Kry Sok Y, deputy prosecutor for the Phnom Penh Municipal Court, said that a summons had been issued to Keo Sothea, the publisher and editor of the Voice of Khmer Youth, to appear at court on Feb 14.
“We will investigate. It doesn’t mean that we believe the person who is suing,” Kry Sok Y said.
Keo Sothea said that he had not yet received a summons from the court and only found out about the case when reporters contacted him on Thursday.
He added that he was unsure of what articles the governor is unhappy with.
“There were some articles involving the Sihanoukville Municipality, land grabbing and individual leaders who took land to divide into plots,” Keo Sothea said, adding that he believed those articles were reported correctly.