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

  • Phnom Penh placed in two-week lockdown

    The government has decided to place Phnom Penh in lockdown for two weeks, effective April 14 midnight through April 28, as Cambodia continues to grapple with the ongoing community outbreak of Covid-19, which has seen no sign of subsiding. According to a directive signed by Prime Minister

  • Cambodia on the verge of national tragedy, WHO warns

    The World Health Organisation (WHO) in Cambodia warned that the country had reached another critical point amid a sudden, huge surge in community transmission cases and deaths. “We stand on the brink of a national tragedy because of Covid-19. Despite our best efforts, we are

  • Hun Sen: Stay where you are, or else

    Prime Minister Hun Sen warned that the two-week lockdown of Phnom Penh and adjacent Kandal provincial town Takmao could be extended if people are not cooperative by staying home. “Now let me make this clear: stay in your home, village, and district and remain where

  • Businesses in capital told to get travel permit amid lockdown through One Window Service

    The Phnom Penh Municipal Administration has issued guidelines on how to get travel permission for priority groups during the lockdown of Phnom Penh, directing private institutions to apply through the municipality's One Window Service and limit their staff to a mere two per cent. In

  • Ministry names types of business permitted amid lockdown

    The Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training singled out 11 types of business that are permitted to operate during the lockdown of Phnom Penh and Takmao town, which run through April 28. Those include (1) food-processing enterprises and slaughterhouses; (2) providers of public services such as firefighting, utility and

  • Culture ministry: Take Tuol Sleng photos down, or else

    The Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts has told Irish photographer Matt Loughrey to take down the photos of Khmer Rouge victims at Tuol Sleng Genocidal Museum which he allegedly colourised and altered to show them smiling. The ministry said Loughrey's work is unacceptable, affecting