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PM sues ex-senator for $1M

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Former senator Sor Chandeth talks to supporters at a 2016 gathering. Photo supplied

PM sues ex-senator for $1M

A lawyer representing Prime Minister Hun Sen filed a lawsuit to Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Monday demanding four billion riel [around $1 million] compensation against former senator Sor Chandeth.

“In the complaint, we requested the prosecutor charge and prosecute Sor Chandeth according to the Criminal Code,” lawyer Ky Tech told The Post on Monday.

“Secondly, we demand compensation for his deeds which affect the honour, reputation and dignity of Samdech Techo [Hun Sen]. [Hun Sen] demands compensation of four billion riel,” Tech said.

He said Chandeth had spread “insults” on social media against the prime minister with the intent of “incitement to commit offences” in violation of articles 307 and 495 of the Criminal Code.

Tech said he had 32 pages of evidence against Chandeth copied from his Facebook page, all of which had been submitted to the court along with the complaints.

‘Against the wind’

Chandeth is a former senator with the now defunct Sam Rainsy party (SRP). He is also one of the original 118 Cambodian National Rescue Party (CNRP) members banned from all political activity for five years in accordance with the Supreme Court ruling that dissolved the former opposition party in November 2017.

Last Wednesday, Hun Sen said the former senator had insulted his life, with the last comment made on his Facebook page talking of the prime minister’s “decapitation”.

Hun Sen said he would demand compensation from Chandeth of not less than $2 million.

But Chandeth recently defended what he had written about Hun Sen, saying it was criticism of the prime minister’s political life and not him personally.

Reached on Monday by The Post, Chandeth did not back down.

“I still hold firm that I don’t care about it. Now Mr Hun Sen can do anything. His regime is going to be dissolved so he is twisting his body. So I don’t care, no matter whether he sues me with many more packages of complaints."

“He is filing complaints against the wind because I did not do anything wrong. I am abroad, I have freedom and I will continue my mission. We are preparing to return with President Sam Rainsy soon,” he said.

Rainsy co-founded the CNRP when his SRP merged with the Human Rights Party of Kem Sokha. Sokha’s arrest for treason in September 2017 led to the dissolution of the CNRP.

Chandeth also posted on Facebook: “[I am] selling Khmer noodles to collect money for Hun Sen to buy medicine.”

According to the Criminal Code, “public insult” is punishable with a fine of between 100,000 to 10 million riel.

Those convicted of “incitement” can be imprisoned for between six months and two years, with a fine of between a million and four million riel.

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