Hun Sen’s French legal foray backfires

A court ruling has exposed Cambodia’s culture of violence and impunity.

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen thought that by bringing charges of defamation against me in Paris he could silence criticism of his regime from abroad. The venture has had the opposite effect, with the court rejecting his claims on October 10.

The prime minister brought the case against me in response to my public statements that he was responsible for the deaths of Cambodian trade-union leader Chea Vichea in 2004 and former police chief Hok Lundy in 2008.

Hun Sen claimed defamation, but the court acquitted me on the basis that my claims were part of a “major general-interest debate over respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms” in Cambodia.

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