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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - KPP chief grilled over FB chat

Sourn Serey Ratha at a meeting at the Khmer Power Party office in Phnom Penh last year.
Sourn Serey Ratha at a meeting at the Khmer Power Party office in Phnom Penh last year. Hong Menea

KPP chief grilled over FB chat

Khmer Power Party leader Sourn Serey Ratha was questioned at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court yesterday over a former colleague’s accusations of defamation and “attempted murder” stemming from a group Facebook chat in which she was ostensibly never named.

Serey Ratha, who formed the KPP in 2015, was summonsed to answer a complaint filed on December 12 by former party worker May Sreyleak, his lawyer, Sok Sam Oeun, said after the hearing yesterday.

According to Sam Oeun, during the chat among party workers, one unnamed worker suggested there was a “fly” in the party, to which Serey Ratha agreed, saying he would remove the “fly”, while at no point naming anyone.

“Ratha said he will not allow flies to be in his party,” Sam Oeun said. “[Sreyleak] regarded the ‘fly’ as herself, and that it was an attempt to kill.”

Sam Oeun brushed aside the charges, saying that Serey Ratha had adequate evidence to show there was no attempted murder.

For his part, Serey Ratha said yesterday that he does not remember when Sreyleak worked for the party, saying it was possibly after its formation in mid-2015. He said the court also asked what kind of work Sreyleak did and why she left the party.

“I said that I did not know the reason, too. I start laughing when I think that I attempted to kill someone,” Serey Ratha said.

Sreyleak could not be reached yesterday, while court spokesman Ly Sophanna would say only that the court was following procedures by questioning all sides involved in the case.

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