AFTER enduring a weeklong incarceration and the assassination of his colleague, Dam Sith, editor in chief of a pro-opposition newspaper and a parliamentary candidate for the Sam Rainsy Party, has left the country, a colleague said Sunday.
"Since Dam Sith was released from prison and particularly since his colleague [Khim Sambo] was assassinated, he has been hiding in his house and afraid to go outside," said a journalist associated with Dam Sith, who spoke on condition of anonymity. "Sith left for the United States on August 5, he asked people not to talk about his trip."
Chan Soveth, a monitoring officer with the Cambodian human rights group Adhoc, said Dam Sith had been living quietly in the country since his release from Prey Sar prison on June 15 and that his family was not releasing any information about his current whereabouts.
Dam Sith was arrested on charges of defamation and spreading disinformation over an April 18 article in the Moneaksekar Khmer linking Foreign Affairs Minister Hor Namhong to the Khmer Rouge. Prime Minister Hun Sen requested Dam Sith's release from prison in a letter dated June 14 and addressed to Chev Keng at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court.
Eng Chhay Ieng, secretary general of SRP, denied that Dam Sith had fled the country and said he had merely taken a holiday.
"Sith left the country last week ... not out of fear or intimidation. He plans to return within a month and has no personal security concerns since the court decided to release him on bail," he said.