A 28-year-old man charged and detained last month for allegedly threatening and insulting Prime Minister Hun Sen on Facebook was quietly released on bail last week by the Kampong Thom Provincial Court, according to a court letter.
Dated February 4 and signed by investigating judge Seth Vannak, the document orders the immediate release of Man Sam Orn from the provincial prison.
Speaking yesterday, Sam Orn said he wants all charges to be dropped, claiming the Facebook posts were not authored by him but someone else using his account.
“I stopped using Facebook because I do not want this thing to happen to me again,” he said, adding “Someone must have wanted revenge against me.”
Am Sam Ath, senior coordinator at rights group Licadho, commenting on the intensification of social media-related arrests, said the government’s actions are “putting pressure on people who use social media to criticise the top leaders”, adding that “it restricts their freedom of expression”.
Responding to Sam Ath’s criticism, Interior Ministry spokesman Khieu Sopheak said, “Let them say whatever they want to say, because they take foreign money.”