The formerly self-exiled president of the Khmer Power Party (KPP) yesterday filed a promised defamation lawsuit against Foreign Minister Hor Namhong.
Standing outside of the Phnom Penh Municipal Court, Sourn Serey Ratha told reporters that he had filed a lawsuit and supporting evidence with the prosecutor calling for 500 million riel (about $125,000) in compensation, which the party plans to donate to the Kantha Bopha Children’s Hospitals.
The suit stems from remarks made by Namhong to reporters following a meeting at the Foreign Ministry on December 7 when he described the KPP as “a party, which has as its leader a terrorist mastermind”.
Serey Ratha said he had the “lowest per cent of hope that action will be taken” by the court, but had gone ahead with the lawsuit in the hope that it would prevent future slurs and bring public attention to the allegedly defamatory remarks.
“Painting us as terrorists is one thing we can’t accept,” he said.
The KPP leader, who led the dissident Khmer People Power Movement before establishing the party, has long been labelled a terrorist by the government and lived for years in self-imposed exile in the US.
He returned to Cambodia in October after being pardoned of widely decried convictions related to his political activities.
Namhong and his lawyer could not be reached yesterday.
Last week, Namhong defended his comments, which he said were made in relation to Serey Ratha’s past run-in with the law. He said he recognised the KPP leader’s right to return to politics.