Radio Free Asia reporter in Cambodia faces trial for "disinformation" (updated).

Posted: 10 Feb 2010   Print   Send a link
"Well-known Radio Free Asia reporter Sok Serey and four other men charged with spreading disinformation about a Cham Muslim community leader in Takeo province will stand trial on February 9, court officials confirmed Thursday. The five men were charged in 2008 after a radio report by Sok Serey that featured comments from the four other defendants about a dispute between Cham Muslim community leader Ry Mab and 206 villagers from his mosque. ... Radio Free Asia was unavailable for comment on Thursday but issued a press statement that it would not comment on ongoing legal matters. 'We hope authorities follow due process of the law, and that any court trial is conducted in a fair, credible and transparent manner,' the statement said." Chrann Chamroeun and David Boyle, The Phnom Penh Post, 5 February 2010.
     "The stalled investigation of a prominent human rights activist in Ratanakkiri province will recommence later this month, provincial judge Thor Saron said Sunday. ... Thor Saron, who threatened both [rtights activist] Pen Bonnar and Radio Free Asia journalist Ratha Visal in September with disinformation charges for accusing him of corruption, said his investigation would go forward despite facing continual delays." The Phnom Penh Post, 8 February 2010.
     Update: "Radio Free Asia reporter Sok Serey and four other men stood trial on Tuesday for disinformation charges, and judges said they would hand down a verdict on February 19. The charges against the five men stem from an November 2008 radio report by Sok Serey about a dispute between Cham Muslim community leader Rim Math and 206 members of his mosque. ... In court on Tuesday, Sok Serey said he had merely been reporting information provided to him by his sources, adding that he had passed on the story two times before finally airing it because he considered it to be in the public interest. ... Prosecutor Say Nora seemed sympathetic to this argument, telling the court that he believed Sok Serey had 'done his job right'. But he said the October 2008 broadcast included incorrect references to a 'demonstration' that had never occurred. ... Muong Sokun, Sok Serey’s lawyer, said he hoped that the court would find his client not guilty 'because my client has enough witnesses and evidence in his broadcasts to prove that he is not guilty'." Meas Sokchea, Phnom Penh Post, 10 February 2010.