Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - King appeals for KCF head



King appeals for KCF head

King appeals for KCF head

091124_04
Moeung Sonn displays a map of the disputed territory around Preah Vihear temple during a press conference before he fled to France.

KING Norodom Sihamoni has appealed to Justice Minister Ang Vong Vathana to prevent the arrest and detention of Khmer Civilisation Foundation (KCF) head Moeung Sonn if he returns to Cambodia from self-exile in France.

The King’s letter, dated Thursday, refers to a November 16 letter from Hang Chhaya, president of the Cambodian Human Rights Action Committee (CHRAC), requesting that Moeung Sonn be able to return freely for his retrial at Phnom Penh Municipal Court today.

“I received a letter dated on November 16 … asking me to intervene to prevent the arrest and detention of Moeung Sonn, head of the [KCF], who has been convicted of disinformation by Phnom Penh Municipal Court. I would like to submit the above letter and documents to you for consideration,” the King’s letter stated.

On July 14, the court sentenced Moeung Sonn to two years in prison and fined him 15 million riels (US$3,615) after convicting him on disinformation charges stemming from comments he made about a new light-installation project at Angkor Wat, which he publicly said might damage the ancient temples.

Earlier this month, Phnom Penh Municipal Court notified Moeung Sonn’s lawyer, Sam Sokong, that Moeung Sonn could appear in court for a retrial, but Sam Sokong said Monday that his client would not return from France because he feared he would be arrested. He also expressed confusion about the reasons for the retrial, which court officials last week put down to the “internal affairs” of the court.

“If the court sees that recharging [my client] is necessary, there must be a full retrial,” he said.

“My client has not made any mistakes, but I cannot say whether he will be acquitted.”

In its November 16 letter to the King, which was also sent to Prime Minister Hun Sen, CHRAC said Moeung Sonn had “no intentions to degrade the government’s reputation or provoke unrest” in the Kingdom.

His comments about the Angkor Wat lighting scheme, the letter added, echoed the views of other sources, including UNESCO experts.

“The concern, care and sympathy of Mr Moeung Sonn shows a good intention to defend the cultural property and prosperous civilisation of the Khmer nation,” it said.

Government lawyer Pol Chandara said Monday that defendants always protest their innocence, but that the court would decide today.

“It is normal – he wants to be acquitted. My side is the same when we try to find evidence for the court,” he said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Would you like fries with that? US burger chain makes Phnom Penh debut

    California-based The Habit Burger Grill restaurant chain is all set to serve up a delicious array of charbroiled burgers and sides at its newest international location in the centre of Phnom Penh. The Habit is “renowned for its award-winning Charburgers grilled over an open flame,

  • Banteay Meanchey flood victims receive aid

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Wednesday provided aid to more than 10,000 families affected by flooding in Banteay Meanchey province’s Mongkol Borei district and offered his condolences to the 18 victims who drowned in the province over the past week. He said flooding had occured in

  • PM urges caution as Polish man tests positive for Covid

    The Ministry of Health on Wednesday reported that a 47-year-old Polish man tested positive for Covid-19 after arriving in Cambodia on Monday. There are a total of six Covid-19 patients currently in the country, all of whom are being treated at the Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hospital

  • Banteay Meanchey floods kill one more as death toll reaches 15

    As floodwaters start to recede in Pursat, Battambang and Pailin provinces and Phnom Penh, Banteay Meanchey continues to bear the brunt as one more person was killed on Monday, bringing the total number of flood-related deaths to 15 in the province this month. Banteay Meanchey provincial

  • Serving coffee with a side of robots

    The eye-catching glass building surrounded by greenery at the intersection of Streets 371 and 2002 in Phnom Penh’s Sen Sok district is more than just another coffee shop where you can while away a few hours. UrHobby House cafe is filled with robots and characters from

  • Floods prompt evacuations in Kampong Speu

    Rain-induced floods and water flowing from Kampong Speu province have submerged the houses of 1,527 families living close to the Prek Thnot River in Spean Thma, Tien, Kong Noy and Roluos communes in Phnom Penh’s Dangkor district, according to data from local authorities. Spean Thma