Two opposition activists in Pailin province are facing “malicious denunciation” cases brought by villagers they accused of being Vietnamese nationals who had registered to vote illegally.
Riem Namon, a 27-year-old Cambodian National Rescue Party activist from Pailin town’s Tuol Lvea commune, has been sued by two men, Teang Bros and Keo Hean, after including the pair in a list of eight people she suspected to be foreigners who had registered with the National Election Committee.
After the NEC dismissed the complaint, Namon said she found herself facing legal action and was yesterday summoned to Pailin Provincial Court to provide evidence.
“They filed a complaint against me because I was the one who filed a complaint that they were foreigners,” she said, claiming that the eight people she accused of registering illegally were not ethnic Khmer – though that in itself is not a bar to registering.
In an almost identical case, CNRP activist Chhun Chanda, 56, has been sued by three of 34 people he accused of being illegal Vietnamese registrants after his complaint with the NEC was thrown out.
“We knew they were Vietnamese from villagers living close to them and through their language,” Chanda maintained yesterday.
The complainants in the cases were unreachable yesterday. The Cambodian Criminal Code defines “malicious denunciation” as knowingly making a false declaration likely to have legal consequences for the victim. It carries a maximum one year prison term.
In January the NEC rejected complaints by the CNRP that almost 2,500 foreigners, mostly Vietnamese, enrolled to vote.