THE exiled president of the Khmer Civilisation Foundation (KCF) has written a letter to Prime Minister Hun Sen asking him to intervene in his disinformation conviction by a Phnom Penh court.
Moeung Son, who is now in France, was sentenced in absentia to two years in prison when the Phnom Penh Municipal Court found him guilty of disinformation in connection with comments he made in May suggesting that a light-installation project at Angkor Wat could damage the 11th-century temple.
He was also fined 7 million riels (US$1,677) and ordered to pay an additional 8 million riels in compensation to the Apsara Authority, the body that manages the temple complex.
In the letter, dated October 5, Moeung Sonn asked Hun Sen to reconsider the conviction so that the KCF head “could return back to his lovely country”. He wrote that he believed the judge in his case “did not investigate deeply, according to court procedure”, and that that his statements should not have qualified as disinformation because he was only echoing the recommendations of a UNESCO technical group.
Pal Chan Dara, a government lawyer, said that Moeung Sonn’s case was a matter for the courts, not the prime minister.
“Moeung Sonn can write a letter to ask the court for a retrial, but not the government or Hun Sen,” he said.
Chhay Kong, the Phnom Penh Municipal Court judge who rendered the original verdict, said that Moeung Sonn’s case would be retried according to his request, but the judge did not comment on whether a date for the retrial had been set.