A provincial co-ordinator for rights group Adhoc was yesterday summonsed to Banteay Meanchey provincial court for questioning on defamation charges, a day after a letter surfaced indicating that the Prime Minister’s brother had attempted to stall a sexual harassment suit in which the co-ordinator had been assisting, an Adhoc representative said.
In November, provincial co-ordinator Soum Chankea helped waitress Hi Theavy to file a sexual harassment lawsuit against Cambodian Mine Action Centre official Oum Socheath and his friend Pong Piseth.
After initial questioning on December 6, proceedings came to an abrupt halt.
Last week, Adhoc released a statement saying that Oum Socheath had sued Soum Chankea for defamation.
“There is no basis for the complaint, as [Soum] Chankea did not complain about him. [Oum Socheath] only reported what the victim said,” Adhoc head of monitoring Ny Chakrya told the Post.
A letter obtained by the Post this week revealed that Prime Minister Hun Sen’s younger brother, Hun San, signed a letter on December 7 requesting that the prosecutor drop the case against Oum Socheath.
Ros Vanna, a representative of Kampuchea Shipping Agency and Brokers, where Hun San is director of administration management, declined to comment.
Contact details for Hun San were not available.
Provincial prosecutor Phann Vannroth said no one had been charged in either case and his investigation into Hi Theavy’s complaint was almost complete.
Shiwei Ye, regional representative for the International Federation for Human Rights, said the complaint against Soum Chankea appeared to be aimed at punishing him for his human-rights work.
Ou Virak, president of the Cambodian Centre for Human Rights, said the case was a chance for the judiciary to show it could operate independently and called for an investigation into alleged interference in the matter.
Soum Chankea will appear in court for questioning on March 22.