Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Editor and Khmer Nation exec has jail term upheld

Editor and Khmer Nation exec has jail term upheld

Editor and Khmer Nation exec has jail term upheld

T HE Appeal Court has upheld a one year jail sentence and a five million riel ($2,000) fine against Hen Vipheak, a former journalist-turned-politician, for disinformation.

Appeal Court judge Ouk Savuth upheld Vipheak's earlier conviction for disinformation but overturned a second conviction for defamation of the Prime Ministers. He made no change to the original sentence.

The judge, though discarding the defamation conviction, ruled that Vipheak was guilty of publishing "fabricated and false information with intention to harm the honor of the Prime Ministers."

Vipheak is the former editor of Sereipheap Thmei (New Liberty News) - whose offices were recently attacked by Kraingyov villagers - and who resigned to become a steering committee member of Sam Rainsy's Khmer Nation Party. He had appealed against his convictions under the UNTAC criminal law by the Phnom Penh Municipal Court in May, in relation to an article headlined: "Cambodia: Country of Thieves."

At the Dec 22 appeal hearing, Judge Savuth dismissed Vipheak's request for a pardon if he promised to write an apology to the Prime Ministers.

During the hearing, Vipheak acted emotionally and, as one observer put it, was "childish".

He argued with Prosecutor Kong Srim but did not provide any evidence to support the article's contents.

He avoided editorial responsibility for the article, which was bylined Toyota, by saying he had only conveyed the opinion of its unidentified writer. When pressed by Kong Srim to prove the article's allegations that both prime ministers were selling off state property, Vipheak challenged the prosecutor: "Let's bid your life and my life on this, everyone knows about this [sale of state property]".

Asked by the prosecutor to behave properly, he responded: "This is my right". He calmed down only after he received a warning from the judge.

After Judge Savuth gave his ruling, Vipheak said the verdict had been "not independent" and he would further appeal his case to the Supreme Court.

Vipheak's original sentence in May raised concern from the King and journalism and human rights NGOs.

MOST VIEWED

  • Hun Sen: Stop Russia sanctions

    Prime Minister Hun Sen said sanctions against Russia as a result of its military offensive in Ukraine should be stopped as they have produced no tangible results, and predicted that a global food crisis would ensue in 2023 as a consequence. Speaking to an audience at

  • Chinese tourists 2.0 – Coming anytime soon?

    Regional tourism is grappling with the absence of the prolific travellers and big spenders – the Chinese tourists. Cambodia, which has welcomed over two million Chinese tourists before Covid-19, is reeling from the economic loss despite being the first to fully open last November ‘To put

  • PM reflects on shoe throwing: Free speech or act of violence?

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on May 17 questioned whether a man who threw a shoe at him while he was in the US was exercising freedom of expression or if it was an act of hostility. Hun Sen was referring to an incident last week when

  • Siem Reap’s Angkor Botanical Garden opens

    The Angkor Botanical Garden was officially opened on May 19 with free entry for both local and international visitors for the first six weeks. The garden was established on a nearly 15ha plot of land in Siem Reap. “After the first six weeks, Angkor Botanical Garden

  • Pub Street on the cards for Battambang

    The Battambang Provincial Authority has announced that it is considering establishing a Pub Street in the area around the heritage buildings in Battambang town in a bid to attract more tourists. Battambang provincial governor Sok Lou told The Post that the establishment of a Pub

  • Hun Sen: Don’t react to hostility

    Prime Minister Hun Sen urged tolerance and thanked members of the Cambodian diaspora for not reacting to the hostility on display towards him by others while he was in the US to attend the May 12-13 ASEAN-US Special Summit in Washington, DC. In an audio