Cambodian PM refuses to accept opposition apology

Hun Sen says opponents must 'end culture of defamation and insults'.

Cambodia’s Prime Minister Hun Sen has indicated that his government will continue to use the courts to silence dissent after the longest-serving leader in Asia refused to accept an apology from a leading opposition figure.

Son Chhay, vice-president of the opposition Candlelight Party, lost a final appeal against a defamation conviction on Feb. 23 and was ordered to pay US $1 million in damages to the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP), led by Hun Sen, after he claimed that “votes were bought and stolen” at last year’s commune elections.

Government mouthpiece Fresh News, released an apology written by Son Chay before the court ruling saying he never “intended to accuse the CPP or the National Election Committee [NEC] of stealing votes, and I do not intend to accuse the CPP as a thief to steal ballots in the future.”

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