Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Activist questioned over defamation allegations

Activist questioned over defamation allegations

Land rights activist Kuch Veng speaks to two monks after being questioned at the Pursat Provincial Court yesterday. Photo supplied
Land rights activist Kuch Veng speaks to two monks after being questioned at the Pursat Provincial Court yesterday. Photo supplied

Activist questioned over defamation allegations

Almost 150 villagers gathered outside the Pursat Provincial Court yesterday as an activist was questioned over allegations of defamation, incitement to commit a felony and discrediting court decisions.

Land rights activist Kuch Veng, 52, from Krakor district, was questioned by the court for two hours while villagers from five communes, fearing his detention, protested until he was allowed to leave.

After Veng spoke out in 2012 and 2013 against the eviction of 21 families to make way for a community forest on state-owned land on which they had been farming since 1983, and after he publicly criticised a five-year sentence handed down to one of the protesters in 2015, Sna Ansa commune chief Mouk Kor filed a lawsuit against him last August. Kuch and his supporters yesterday requested the court drop the suit.

“The information [we distribute] is to help the society, not to incite any crime. It is not an attack on anyone – it is to halt land-grabbing and natural resource destruction,” Veng said.

“I am sick. If the court detained me, it would be like killing me,” he added. Veng suffers from gallbladder and blood diseases that require him to take medicine daily.

Commune chief Kor declined to elaborate on the allegations.

“I already appeared for questioning after I sued him [Kuch Veng], so let the court do its job,” he said.

Long Cheab, a provincial spokesman, said the court was investigating the case and had not charged Veng yet.

MOST VIEWED

  • Woman detained for murder of hairdresser over unpaid $1K debt

    A woman has been held in connection with the murder of a 40-year-old widow. The victim’s daughter claims the motive was the suspect’s unpaid four million riel ($1,000) debt to her mother. The 17-year-old girl, Pich Sievmey, said her mother, Koem Yaneang, a hairdresser

  • ‘Life goes on’ if Cambodia loses Everything But Arms

    Cambodia's business sector is exploring ways to mitigate any fallout from a possible loss of access to the EU’s Everything But Arms (EBA) agreement as talks continue before the 28-member bloc makes a final decision. The EU monitoring process is set to conclude in

  • Nesat beach: A magnet drawing tourists to the Kingdom’s coastline

    A white sandy beach lined by countless coconut trees awaits travellers off Cambodia’s southwest coast in Koh Kong province’s Srae Ambel district, about 170km from Phnom Penh. Over the past few years Nesat beach – a name inspired by a nearby fishing village – has

  • Woman confesses to murder, dismemberment over debt

    The daughter of a woman who was killed and dismembered in Phnom Penh earlier this month requested the authorities on Wednesday to impose the death penalty on the woman who killed her mother, after listening to the killer confess and describe her gruesome actions without