A Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) supporter in Kandal province has claimed he was questioned by police for more than four hours after posting a video clip on Facebook in support of the court-dissolved opposition’s acting president Sam Rainsy.
Ly Meng Yieng from the province’s Sa’ang district, said on Facebook last week that he was called into the district police station and made to sign a letter promising to stop posting video clips in support of the CNRP.
A photo of the letter dated last Tuesday that Meng Yieng posted on Facebook reads: “I, Ly Meng Yieng, promise before the Sa’ang district police that from today onwards I will stop posting video clips which support the CNRP, and I will not do anything that affects national security. If I don’t respect the above promise, I will face the law.”
In the video clip, which lasts more than a minute, Meng Yieng says he and former CNRP commune officials in Sa’ang district support the return of Rainsy to the party as the acting president.
“We would like to announce that we support HE Sam Rainsy to be acting president of the CNRP to lead the CNRP to be successful going forward, and to demand the release of HE Kem Sokha and that district councils, commune chiefs, commune council, first and second commune chiefs in all 16 communes in Sa’ang district be allowed to return to [their positions],” it says.
Meng Yieng could not be reached for comment by The Post on Tuesday.
After meeting with the police, he posted on Facebook that he was allowed home after more than four hours.
“I am honoured. [After a meeting lasting] from 8:30 to 12:58 [I was] allowed to go home. Where is the right to life, the right to expression and the right to assembly?"
“I got to know Sa’ang Phnom commune police station and Sa’ang district police station. I just filmed and posted, and I got a call to be questioned for many hours,” he wrote.
Rainsy said on Monday that having his supporters make such promises was a “threat” against those who supported him as acting president of the CNRP.
“I just lodged complaints to international NGOs which monitor the situation in Cambodia and asked them to put more pressure on the dictatorial regime of Mr Hun Sen,” he wrote on Facebook on Monday.
However, Meng Yieng’s account was strongly disputed by Sa’ang district police chief Seng Socheat. On Tuesday, he said: “We just called [him] to [the police station] as an acquaintance, not as a suspect.”
Kandal provincial police chief Eav Chamroeun declined to comment.
Kandal province governor Mao Phirun said on Tuesday that as the CNRP was dissolved by the Supreme Court, it meant it no longer existed and so any reference to the former opposition party was therefore against the ruling.
Police and the authorities, he said, were monitoring the situation and ready to implement the court’s decision.
“The Supreme Court dissolved that party and they still use the name ‘CNRP’. This means going against the court and facing possible punishment. So the police called [him] to [remind him] that the [CNRP] has been dissolved."
“If he acts on behalf of the CNRP, it is against the ruling of the court,” he said.
The Facebook pages of Rainsy and CNRP activist Sophorn Lary said around 20 video clips in support of Rainsy as the party’s acting president have been posted on Facebook from around the Kingdom.
Ministry of Justice spokesperson Chin Malin said that having seen Meng Yieng’s and similar video clips, such CNRP supporters were not exercising their freedoms of expression or assembly but had instead violated the law as accomplices to a “criminal”.
“Their activities were in support of a criminal, as convicted by the court. Such activities are supporting an illegal movement, [Rainsy’s] ‘Cambodia National Rescue Movement’, which has the intention to destroy peace and topple the government,” he said.
However, whether these activities were crimes or not depended on a court decision, he stressed.
Lawyer Ly Chantola said: “[With the amendment to] the Article 45 of the Law on Political Parties, what Sam Rainsy has done is [illegal]."
“Therefore, if [CNRP supporters] continue to support the activities of an illegal person, this is also [illegal]. That’s why they gave educational and corrective [advice].”