The Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Friday questioned Kong Bunrith about the reasons that led him to post a video on social media claiming irregularities in the judicial examination. Bunrith had failed the examination.
Phnom Penh Municipal Court spokesperson Kuch Kimlong told The Post on Sunday that court prosecutor Say Nora questioned Bunrith for hours on Friday as part of a case against him based on three charges – libel, defamation and incitement to discriminate.
After the hearing, Bunrith was allowed to return home. “The prosecutor will continue to investigate. If he decides on the case, I will inform the public,” Kimlong said.
Bunrith is one of a small number of candidates who have come forward to protest alleged irregularities in the examination, which took place last November.
He filed a complaint with the Supreme Council for Consultation and has sought intervention from King Norodom Sihamoni, Prime Minister Hun Sen, the Senate, and the National Assembly.
Bunrith claims that some candidates had to pay $150,000 to pass the examination. The Royal Academy for Judicial Professions, the Ministry of Justice and the Anti-Corruption Unit vehemently deny the claims and said the examination was entirely fair and transparent.
Bunrith could not be reached for comment on the matter. In a recent Facebook post, he said: “I would like to inform the public that I had no legal representation on Friday morning. I want to call on the public and journalists to kindly follow the case.
“I ask for genuine transparency for the results of the 10th generation of judicial students,” he said.
Supreme Council member Sok Sovann Vathana Sabung, who is also president of the Khmer Rise Party (KRP), told The Post on Sunday that the prosecutor pressured, threatened and yelled at Bunrith during Friday’s hearing.
“The questioning was lengthy, lasting from 9am to 6pm. The proceedings seem to have been very tense, with prosecutor Say Nora yelling at Kong Bunrith because the suspect didn’t behave properly. The prosecutor indirectly threatened the accused.
“We will continue to monitor the case because we don’t want Bunrith to be threatened,” he said.
Vathana Sabung said the charges against Bunrith are meritless. He said the actions of the young man were brave and he deserved praise.
“I will make a second report to Prime Minister Hun Sen next week. I will write a letter to the justice minister to draw attention to the conduct of prosecutor Say Nora,” he said.