Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - KPP boss plans to sue Namhong over 'terrorist' jab

KPP boss plans to sue Namhong over 'terrorist' jab

Former dissident and Khmer People Power leader Sourn Serey Ratha (centre) talks to the media in October at the Phnom Penh International Airport after returning from self-imposed exile.
Former dissident and Khmer People Power leader Sourn Serey Ratha (centre) talks to the media in October at the Phnom Penh International Airport after returning from self-imposed exile. Vireak Mai

KPP boss plans to sue Namhong over 'terrorist' jab

Sourn Serey Ratha, the formerly self-exiled president of the new Khmer Power Party, said yesterday that he was preparing to sue Foreign Minister Hor Namhong for defamation for insinuating last week that Ratha was a “terrorist”, an accusation the government had long levelled at the activist before his return to Cambodia.

Ratha said yesterday that Namhong had made the remarks to the press following a meeting at the US Embassy on December 7 in the midst of comments regarding newly formed parties, calling the KPP “a party, which has as its leader a terrorist mastermind”.

“For this point, I decided to sue him for defamation and inciting people to discriminate against the Khmer Power Party, because from the beginning, we haven’t been a terrorist organisation or the members of a terrorist group,” Ratha said, adding that he planned to file his suit on Monday at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court.

“So what he has said was not true and was an act of inciting discrimination against the Khmer Power Party in order to make supporters and others scared of supporting the Khmer Power Party,” he said.

Ratha – whose seven-year prison sentence for a Facebook post urging the overthrow of the government was expunged with a royal pardon in July – said the party wanted Namhong to publicly apologise.

He said the party would discuss whether to seek a financial remedy at a meeting on Friday at their Toul Kork headquarters.

Ratha said he did not expect a Cambodian court to rule in his favour but hoped the lawsuit would highlight the government’s control over the judiciary, an assertion made by numerous reports, including a recent study by the International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute.

Responding yesterday, Hor Namhong acknowledged making the comments about Ratha in relation to his past run-in with the law, but said he recognised the KPP leader’s right to return to politics.

Clarifying the context of his remarks, Namhong said had referred to Ratha while explaining that national elections could go ahead without opposition leader Sam Rainsy, who remains in self-imposed exile to avoid a recently-resurrected prison sentence for defaming Namhong in 2008.

“I . . . said that Mr Mam Sonando, president of Beehive Radio Station and president of the Beehive Democratic Society Party and the . . . [Grassroots Democracy Party] and Mr Sourn Serey Ratha, the president of Khmer Power Party, will also participate, meaning there will be no problems with elections.”

MOST VIEWED

  • Hun Sen ready to ‘break record’, says Rainsy lost

    Caretaker prime minister Hun Sen used a meeting with 18,400 factory workers on Wednesday to predict that he would beat the record for being the world’s longest-serving non-royal leader. He also used the platform to slam political opponent Sam Rainsy who he said had lost

  • Sihanoukville land prices skyrocketing amid breakneck development

    Sihanoukville, the Kingdom’s most famous beach destination for tourists, is seemingly becoming a paradise for Chinese investors as well. The huge influx of Chinese investors has caused property values to rise, especially the price of land, which has nearly doubled in some places near

  • US names new ambassador to Cambodia

    US President Donald Trump on Friday appointed W Patrick Murphy as the new US Ambassador to Cambodia, replacing incumbent William A Heidt. A press release posted on the White House’s website said nominee W Patrick Murphy is currently acting principal deputy assistant secretary at

  • Kingdom is at a crossroads between East, West after poll

    It was dubbed a success by caretaker prime minister Hun Sen after the electoral victory of his Cambodian People’s Party (CPP), which is poised to take all seats in the National Assembly. But the July 29 national election has not been positively looked at by