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Opposition publisher charged over stories

THE publisher of a daily Khmer-language opposition newspaper said Thursday he has been summoned to appear in Phnom Penh Municipal Court on June 3 to answer to charges of publishing false information.

Hang Chakra, the publisher of the pro-Sam Rainsy Party newspaper Khmer M'chas Srok, said he received the court summons Tuesday.

He said he does not know which articles prompted the charges but expected they were related to a series of articles that he said uncovered corruption on the part of officials working under Deputy Prime Minister Sok An.

Government lawyer Suong Chanthan said he filed the complaint on May 11 but declined to detail the charges beyond saying that he filed them "on behalf of government lawyers".

Publisher to stand by stories

Hang Chakra said his lawyer and he have agreed to appear for the hearing on June 3 at 8:30am.

He said he would stand by his articles, adding that the outcome of the case would depend largely on the level of independence exhibited by the court.

"I am concerned because, as we already know, [the] court is controlled by the powerful people. So it might not be on the side of journalists," he said. 

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