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

  • 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

  • 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

  • Vaccination open to foreigners in Cambodia

    The Ministry of Health on April 8 issued an announcement on Covid-19 vaccination for foreigners residing and working in Cambodia, directing the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training and local authorities to register them. Health minister Mam Bun Heng, who is also head of the inter-ministerial

  • Cambodia gears up for muted New Year festival

    The recent curfew and restrictions imposed in the capital and other Covid-19 hotspots were intended to break the chain of transmission, Ministry of Health spokeswoman Or Vandine said as municipal and provincial authorities issued new directives banning certain activities during the upcoming Khmer New Year

  • 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

  • Covid-19 vaccination now obligatory

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on April 11 issued a sub-decree making Covid-19 vaccination compulsory for individuals unless they have a medical certificate proving they have pre-existing health conditions that prevent them from doing so. «This applies to all members of the armed forces and civil servants