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Siem Reap reporter testifies

Siem Reap Province
A JOURNALIST who appeared in Siem Reap provincial court for questioning on Thursday said a court official urged him to drop his complaint against two Forestry Administration officials, who he has accused of deleting pictures from his camera during a scuffle in early March.

Keng Phon, a journalist with the Sthabna Cheat Khmer newspaper, was ordered to appear for questioning after one of the two officials filed a complaint against him.

“The prosecutor was absent, but the prosecutor’s clerk questioned me, and she wants me to drop the complaint against the forestry officials,” he said, though he added that he had refused.

“I want to see my complaint go to court,” he said.

Keng Phon has said that he tried to take pictures of the officials during a crackdown on illegal logging in early March, after he saw them carrying timber out of a forest in Kampong Kleng commune.

Chheang Tola, the director of the Forestry Administration in Siem Reap, said he was not familiar with the case, but that it was the policy of his staff to “cooperate” with journalists.

Siem Reap Provincial Court prosecutor Ty Soveinthal said he had not yet investigated Keng Phon’s complaint or the complaint filed by the two Forestry Administration officials.

“I will look into the case, and I will send it to the investigating judge if it is a big problem,” he said.

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