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Khmer Power Party president Sourn Serey Ratha appears at Phnom Penh Municipal Court yesterday.
Khmer Power Party president Sourn Serey Ratha appears at Phnom Penh Municipal Court yesterday. Hong Menea

KPP chief offers audio evidence in defamation case

Khmer Power Party president Sourn Serey Ratha yesterday submitted evidence to Phnom Penh Municipal Court to support his defamation and incitement claim against Foreign Minister Hor Namhong.

Ratha is suing Namhong for insinuating he was a terrorist, an accusation the government had long levelled against the dissident, who spent more than a year in self-imposed exile after being convicted in absentia of conspiracy.

After submitting audio evidence yesterday, Ratha told reporters that Namhong’s remarks – calling the KPP “a party, which has as its leader a terrorist mastermind” – had defamed him and discouraged KPP event attendance.

“Before the media echoed Hor Namhong’s statement, we had plans to meet with people from different provinces,” Ratha said. “When he made the comments, and the media repeated them, those supporters dispersed and reconsidered whether to support our party.”

Ratha, who was granted a pardon last July, is seeking $125,000 in compensation.

Reached yesterday, Namhong’s defence lawyer, Ka Savuth, was unfazed. “When the time comes, we will go to court,” he said.

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