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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - KCF head seeks speedy homecoming

KCF head seeks speedy homecoming

Moeung Sonn in Aranyaprathet district today.

Moeung Sonn, former head of the Khmer Civilisation Foundation convicted in 2009 of disinformation over questions raised about a lighting system at the Angkor Wat temple complex, said today that he hopes the Appeal Court will revisit his case soon.

For several months, Moeung Sonn has been living in Rung Cloeur market in Thailand’s Aranyaprathet district in Sa Kaeo province.

He said today that he hopes the government will remember his previous efforts on behalf of residents of Preah Vihear, who sought restitution after a market was destroyed during fighting between Thai and Cambodian soldiers in April 2009.

“I have been here four months awaiting the court [of Appeal] to try my case, and if I am lucky, [they] will have pity on me. I will be able to return to Cambodia and not back to France,” he said.

Moeung Sonn was sentenced to two years in prison in July 2009 and a 15 million-riel fine (US$3,615) for defamation stemming from comments he made about a new lighting system at Angkor Wat that he feared could damage the ancient temple complex.

He fled to France before his trial after learning that the government had filed a suit against him.

“My lawyer [Sok Samoeun] has filed an appeal but we have no idea when the hearing will proceed,” he said, adding that his lawyer would explain to the government that what he had said did not constitute disinformation.

Pal Chandara, counsel for the government in its case against Moeun Sonn, said the Court of Appeal has the necessary documents to proceed with a hearing but that he has no information about a scheduled date.

“This case is now out of the hands of the government,” he said.

“It should be decided by the court, and we don’t want to touch the work of the court.”



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