Takeo Provincial Court confirmed yesterday that it had charged an employee of local rights group Licadho and two other men with disseminating so-called “disinformation,” allegedly about retired King Norodom Sihanouk and Prime Minister Hun Sen’s ruling CPP, officials said without providing details.
Sokchouen Leang, an administrative officer for Licadho, was arrested in Phnom Penh’s Sen Sok district on Saturday morning. According to Takeo court Director Plang Chhlam, two other men were charged on Sunday along with Mr Leang on the same charges of disinformation.
“They were charged, but I can’t talk because the case is still ongoing,” Judge Chhlam said, declining to name the two other charged men.
Kirth Chantharith, spokesman for the National Police, said that Mr Leang and the two other suspects, whom he also declined to name, had allegedly distributed fliers critical of retired King Sihanouk and the CPP on four separate occasions in Takeo province.
“Now they are charged with disinformation and placed in provisional detention by the Takeo court,” he said before declining to comment further.
Prince Sisowath Thomico, personal assistant to retired King Sihanouk, said yesterday that he was unaware of the alleged fliers or the charges against the Licadho employee and the two other men.
“I don’t know about the leaflets criticizing His Majesty…but I will check into it,” Prince Thomico said.
Say Thy, administration chief for Licadho, said that lawyers provided by the human rights group to Mr Leang had asked the court that Mr Leang be released on bail ahead of trial, but that court director Chhlam had denied the request.
“The court charged our colleague with spreading disinformation in Takeo province, but the accusations are baseless and without evidence,” Mr Thy said.