S INCE the announcement by the Ministry of Information (MOI) that a complaint had
been lodged against me for an article we ran entitled "Security jitters while
PMs away," written by Nate Thayer (PPPost: March 24, l995), our office has
received dozens of inquiries from around the world and here in Cambodia on the
situation vis-a-vis this case.
For readers who may not have seen any of
the various news stories, the situation - in brief - is as follows:
initial public announcement was made by the MOI on August 24.
to an MOI spokesman, Leng Sochea, the government has filed a complaint with the
municipal court asking them to press criminal charges against me, as publisher
of the PPPost, for disinformation, incitement and creating insecurity and
If tried and convicted, I could be fined and possibly
jailed. As well, the PPPost could be closed down permanently.
lawyer Kao Bun Hong, on behalf of the two Prime Ministers, filed the complaint
in a letter dated April 21, although it is not known when the court officially
received the letter. A court official has said a judge is investigating the case
to decide whether to press charges under Article 62 - dis-information - of the
UNTAC Press Law.
Under current Cambodian law the court has six months to
review the case and decide whether this or other charges will be brought against
me, or none at all.
As a part of the court's investigation into the case
I can be called in to answer questions before a final decision is made on
To date, I have not been officially notified in writing by
the court that the investigation is proceeding or that I will be summoned to
answer questions, or whether or not I will be prosecuted.
I'm pleased to
note with gratitude that in a faxed response to a letter of concern about this
situation from Julio Jeldres, H.M. King Norodom Sihanouk wrote on August 25 that
while he could not change the course of the case, His Majesty "shall, however,
have the right and the duty to grant an amnesty to the journalists sentenced."
In a meeting I had with Kao Bun Hong on September 2, I was told that the
government wanted to know who the unnamed sources were cited in the
According to the recently passed press law, which was signed into
law by Assembly President and Acting Head of State Chea Sim on August 31,
journalists are protected by law from having to reveal their sources.
the absence of any official written notification on this case from either the
government or the court, I have been refraining from making any statements to
the press except to say that I stand behind the accuracy of the story in
Readers will be kept abreast of any significant developments
regarding this case. Many, many, many thanks to all those, both within the RGC
and without, who have expressed their support in the last two