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Man held, released after insulting PM on Facebook

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Police stand with the man detained over a Facebook post insulting Prime Minister Hun Sen. National Police

Man held, released after insulting PM on Facebook

A man who insulted Prime Minister Hun Sen in a Facebook post regarding the coronavirus a few days ago in Pursat province has been released following his arrest on Monday.

Provincial deputy police chief Mo Lida said on Thursday that provincial governor Mao Thornin ordered him to investigate the case on Monday. His officers then arrested Mut Samien, 34, while he was taking pictures at a wedding in Veal Veng district’s Pramuoy commune.

Veal Veng district police sent him to the provincial police station on Wednesday afternoon, he said.

After provincial police questioned and had him sign a contract to cease his actions, he was released without being taken to court, Lida said, adding that his parents also came to act as his guarantor.

In his Facebook post, Samien said: “Not until Khmer people die does the prime minister protect them. This prime minister seems mentally-ill. One more thing, when listening to Samdech [Hun Sen’s] speech about the Coronavirus, he sounds like a child who never went to school.”

Lida said the man confessed to the post.

“After he was detained for 48 hours, the National Police, provincial governor, and the prosecutor agreed to educate and release him to go back home. He apologised publicly,” he said.

Deputy monitoring manager for right groups Licadho Am Sam Ath said such arbitrary arrests infringe upon freedom of expression in the Kingdom.

“The authorities should consider the right to freedom of expression. They must differentiate between freedom of expression and offences because in a democratic country, constructive criticism cannot be avoided and if there is no criticism, then there is no development,” he said.

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