"I consider it my internship," Sereypheap Thmei (New Liberty News) publisher Hen
Vipheak wrote, in the newspaper's May 13-14 edition, of his impending court
His internship will start tomorrow, May 20, at the Municipal
Court. Vipheak is to face a government charge of misinformation for an article
he published under the headline: "Cambodia: Country of Thieves" and a cartoon
showing Second Premier Hun Sen holding a gun at the head of First Premier Prince
Vipheak said he was innocent of the charge, laid under
Article 62 of UNTAC law, because: "I believe in my [article]. I was expressing
"But what I'm concerned about is the absence of independence
of the court. The justice system in Cambodia has generally been recognized to be
not independent," he added.
He predicted he might face the same fate as
Chan Ratana, publisher of Samleng Yuvachun Khmer (Voice of Khmer Youth),
recently sentenced to 12 months jail.
However, in the May 13-14 issue of
his paper, Vipheak said it was his honor to be involved in the lawful solving of
a dispute between himself and the government.
That was far better than
the case of former Voice of Khmer Youth editor Non Chan, who, gunned down last
September, "was tried on the streets".
"I'm very happy!" Vipheak wrote. "
On the other hand, when I appear before the judge to face the charge by the
plaintiff from a high position [prime minister], I will be famous," he
"Both compatriots and the international community will know me.
Being a man, the more they know you, the better it is."
Bunly, publisher of Udomkati Khmer (Khmer Ideal), is to stand trial today (May
19). He has been charged with defamation after publishing a cyclo driver's
letter to the editor which asked both prime ministers to stop
Bunly - whose newspaper has been suspended since last November
- has counter-sued the government for violating Article 37 of the State of
Cambodia's press law which prohibits the closure of a publication for more than
He told the Post he was seeking $47,520 compensation from the
government for the loss to his business.
Meanwhile, Chan Ratana - whose
12 month jail sentence has been suspended until an appeal is held - said he had
yet to be given a court hearing for the appeal.
"I want to know black or
white. It's difficult for me to be a prisoner of my mind. I can't do anything
now," he complained.