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Choungy case sent from NEC to capital courts

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Choung Choungy (centre), talks to the media in 2015 at the Appeal Court in Phnom Penh. Hong Menea

Choungy case sent from NEC to capital courts

The Ministry of Justice said Tuesday that it has forwarded the National Election Commission’s (NEC) request to the Phnom Penh Municipal Court to study if lawyer Choung Choungy has violated any laws through his Facebook posting.

“After receiving the NEC’s request, the Ministry of Justice sent it to the Phnom Penh Municipal Court’s prosecution’s office to let them verify if his (Choungy’s) posting was a political act. If it is a political act, it violates the Supreme Court’s rule.

“The prosecutor is studying the law to see if there is enough legal basis and evidence of a crime. If there is any, then the prosecutor will prepare criminal charges against him and decide under which crime and article to charge him,” Chin Malin, the ministry’s spokesperson said.

Explanation on Facebook

On July 17, days ahead of the Sunday parliamentary election, Choungy took to his Facebook to explain the rights of voters, and whether they would violate the law if they boycott the elections.

His action was interpreted as urging the people to keep away from voting which clearly violated Article 142 of the election law.

In response to the social media posting, the NEC reported to four ministries and the Bar Association, urging them to take action against the lawyer.

Choungy was one of the 118 people banned from taking part in politics for five years after the Supreme Court dissolved the Cambodian National Rescue Party (CNRP), for which he was the lawyer.

The Post could not reach the spokespersons for the Phnom Penh Municipal Court, Ministry of Interior or the Ministry of Telecommunication for comments on Tuesday.

However, Cambodia’s Bar Association president Suon Visal said his association has not decided on the request as he received the NEC’s letter last Friday.

Ministry of Information spokesperson Ouk Kim Seng, who asked the NEC to block Choungy’s Facebook account, said yesterday that it was temporally blocked on “White Day” but later unblocked.

“Officially, on White Day we implemented [the block] and nothing more than that,” he said.

Choungy could not be reached for comments on Tuesday.

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