Political commentator Ou Virak has been summonsed to appear at Phnom Penh Municipal Court on May 12 in relation to a defamation suit filed by Cambodian People’s Party spokesman Sok Eysan last week.
Virak, who yesterday said he had yet to receive the summons and had only seen a copy of it in the media, said the summons should have been issued only after Eysan, who will appear before the court on Friday, had testified and the complaint was deemed a valid case.
“So the fact that they have summonsed me, they are indicating that they are going ahead with the case,” Virak said.
The complaint stems from an interview on Radio Free Asia conducted with Virak in which he allegedly claimed the CPP had orchestrated the recent scandal involving CNRP acting president Kem Sokha and an alleged mistress. Virak has rejected the allegation.
Virak said that while no one wants to go to prison, especially in Cambodia, it wouldn’t deter him from continuing his work.
“Basically, there is nobody who wants to appear before Cambodian courts or go to Prey Sar prison,” he said. “But it is not about being afraid, but sticking to my mission.”
He added that his former employer, the Cambodia Center for Human Rights, was providing him a lawyer, but he had not yet discussed the case with them.
Eysan, for his part, said he would appear before the court this week, adding that he would request the court to “restore the honour and dignity of the CPP”.