Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Capital court charges man over ‘mocking’ PM in Facebook post

Capital court charges man over ‘mocking’ PM in Facebook post

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
A Cambodian man, Ny Nak, 41, was brought to the Phnom Penh Municipal Court on December 12. He was charged for “public insult” and “incitement to discrimination” after his Facebook post under the name IMan-KH was alleged to have indirectly insulted Prime Minister Hun Sen. Police

Capital court charges man over ‘mocking’ PM in Facebook post

The Phnom Penh Municipal Court has charged a Cambodian man, Ny Nak, 41, and placed him in pre-trial detention for public insult and incitement to discrimination under articles 307, 494 and 496 of the Criminal Code.

According to an order signed by Investigating Judge Hong Sokun Vathana on December 12, Ny Nak, who sells sausages online, is a native of Tapon commune in Battambang province’s Sangke district. Prior to the arrest, he resided at a rented house in Boeung Tompun I commune, in Phnom Penh’s Meanchey district.

He was charged for “public insult” and “incitement to discrimination” after his Facebook post under the name IMan-KH was alleged to have indirectly insulted Prime Minister Hun Sen.

The Facebook post allegedly made a mockery of the government’s distribution of face masks and Hun Sen’s preparation of a letter to the King regarding a possible declaration of a state of emergency amid the Covid-19 community outbreak.

A state of emergency, which temporarily restricts certain rights and freedoms, is a measure that can be legally deployed by the government if it is deemed necessary as part of measures to contain the pandemic in the country.

Nak’s Facebook post read: “I have already prepared a letter and documents to request the placement of my chicken coop in a state of emergency. The reason is that the flu virus is spreading on the farm. I didn’t want [the situation] to reach this point, because it is seriously damaging to the economy of the chickens.

“I hope that all chickens will wear a mask and stay in the coop without going out, if it is not necessary.”

Political analyst Lao Mong Hay called on the municipal court to release Nak, saying Nak’s Facebook post was apparently intended to be a joke.

He said the legal interpretation and the charges of public insults and incitement to discrimination against Nak was not in line with the strict lenity of the criminal case as stated in Article 5 of the Criminal Code.

“In criminal cases, the law must be interpreted strictly. Judges cannot extend the scope of practice or act following the context [of consistency or similarity].

“In a liberal and multi-party democracy that guarantees human rights and respects the law, Ny Nak’s act would not be regarded as a criminal offence. The Cambodian Criminal Code also does not consider this comedy to be a criminal offence,” he said.

Ministry of Justice spokesman Chin Malin said the court had a legal basis to charge Nak with public insult and incitement to discrimination.

“As for whether the accusation is excessive or not, by the matter of principle, it is based on the action of the accused. [It depends on if there are] elements of a crime,” he said.

“The authorities and the prosecutor have a strong and clear basis to ascertain that the action has the elements of a crime and apply charges according to the articles [in the Criminal Code].”

According to the Criminal Code, incitement to discrimination is punishable by imprisonment from one to three years and a fine from two million to six million riel ($500 to $1,500). Public insult is punishable by a fine of between 100,000 and 10 million riel.

MOST VIEWED

  • Hong Kong firm done buying Coke Cambodia

    Swire Coca-Cola Ltd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Hong Kong-listed Swire Pacific Ltd, on November 25 announced that it had completed the acquisition of The Coca-Cola Co’s bottling business in Cambodia, as part of its ambitions to expand into the Southeast Asian market. Swire Coca-Cola affirmed

  • Cambodia's Bokator now officially in World Heritage List

    UNESCO has officially inscribed Cambodia’s “Kun Lbokator”, commonly known as Bokator, on the World Heritage List, according to Minister of Culture and Fine Arts Phoeurng Sackona in her brief report to Prime Minister Hun Sen on the night of November 29. Her report, which was

  • NagaWorld union leader arrested at airport after Australia trip

    Chhim Sithar, head of the Labour Rights Supported Union of Khmer Employees at NagaWorld integrated casino resort, was arrested on November 26 at Phnom Penh International Airport and placed in pre-trial detention after returning from a 12-day trip to Australia. Phnom Penh Municipal Court Investigating Judge

  • Angkor Beer, 30 Years of Prestige and Still Counting

    Let’s celebrate 30 years of prestige with Angkor Beer. In this 2022, Angkor Beer is 30 years old and has been staying with Cambodian hearts in all circumstances. Head of core beer portfolio, EmYuthousaid, “We have been with Cambodians for three decades now. We, ANGKOR Beer, pride

  • Sub-Decree approves $30M for mine clearance

    The Cambodian government established the ‘Mine-Free Cambodia 2025 Foundation’, and released an initial budget of $30 million. Based on the progress of the foundation in 2023, 2024 and 2025, more funds will be added from the national budget and other sources. In a sub-decree signed by Prime Minister Hun Sen

  • Two senior GDP officials defect to CPP

    Two senior officials of the Grassroots Democratic Party (GDP) have asked to join the Cambodian People’s Party (CPP), after apparently failing to forge a political alliance in the run-up to the 2023 general election. Yang Saing Koma, chairman of the GDP board, and Lek Sothear,