A lawyer for the two Cambodia Daily reporters accused of “incitement” for seemingly routine reporting requested that the summons for both to appear in court yesterday be pushed to a later date, an official said.
Aun Pheap and Zsombor Peter were accused by three Jarai residents of Ratanakkiri province’s O’Yadav district – including a former opposition commune chief – of asking intrusive questions during the campaign for the June 4 commune elections. They were summonsed to the provincial court for questioning for the second time yesterday but did not appear, said Chea Pich, the prosecutor on the case.
“They have not come yet. Their defense lawyer requested one or two days ago for a delay to next time,” Pich said, adding that he did not recall the name of the lawyer and did not know when or if they would next be summonsed to the court. He declined to comment further and hung up on a reporter.
Hak Hoan, a spokesman for the court, said that he was unaware of the case, while the Cambodia Daily’s general manager, Douglas Steele, could not be reached for comment.
The three complainants – Rocham Yi, Sev Born, and former Commune Chief Rmam Yout – filed the complaint against Pheap and Peter in early June over questions they asked about the commune’s past support for the opposition Sam Rainsy Party during the commune elections. Born said yesterday that he wanted the two reporters to appear at court and for the case to be dealt with quickly.