Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Sentence for Angkor ‘incitement’ upheld

Sentence for Angkor ‘incitement’ upheld

Sentence for Angkor ‘incitement’ upheld

A controversial jail sentence handed to the head of a cultural organisation for suggesting a lighting project at Angkor Wat was damaging the temple was upheld by the Supreme Court yesterday.

Moeung Sonn, director of the Khmer Civilization Fund, was sentenced to two years in jail and fined 15 million riel (US$3,615) after raising concerns that workers installing lights at the 12th-century temple had drilled holes deep into the structure’s walls.

The lawsuit, brought against him by the government, was upheld on appeal yesterday, even though the obsolete 1992 UNTAC penal code charge of disinformation was amended to incitement last May.

Moeung Sonn, who has lived in self-imposed exile for the past three years, called the Cambodian legal system “hopeless” and said he would move to France to escape punishment.

“It is unfair for me, and Cambodian people are afraid when the legal system listens only to the lawyers of the powerful people,” he said.

Government lawyer Pal Chandara told journalists outside the courtroom yesterday  the verdict was “justice for the government”.

“The verdict offers justice for the government, which pays much attention to public security,” Pal Chandara said.

He has previously argued that Moeung Sonn threatened this security by falsely suggesting the APSARA Authority, which manages the World Heritage Site, had installed 2,000-watt bulbs when it had used only four-watt bulbs.

Moeung Sonn’s lawyer, Sok Sam Ouen, has argued that his client merely raised concerns that the project – contracted out to Chinese firm Suchin – could affect the beauty, safety and body of the temple.

A petition thumb-printed by representatives of 347 communities, including those from the Borei Keila and Boeung Kak eviction sites, was handed to the Supreme Court yesterday, calling for justice by finding Moeung Sonn not guilty.

To contact the reporter on this story: Tep Nimol at [email protected]

MOST VIEWED

  • Chinese influx pushing locals, Westerners out of Preah Sihanouk

    Some within the Kingdom’s tourism industry have speculated that the recent influx of Chinese visitors may hinder domestic tourism as the price of accommodations in the coastal city of Sihanoukville continues to rise. Preah Sihanouk province, which has become a hotbed for Chinese investment

  • ‘Dire consequences’ from sanctions, warns AmCham

    American businesspeople in Cambodia have warned that any sanction against the Kingdom would have “dire consequences” that could push Cambodia even further into the arms of China. In a letter to US senators and representatives dated Monday, the American Chamber of Commerce Cambodia (AmCham) said

  • CPP: ‘Behave or Sokha suffers’

    The ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) spokesman warned Kem Monovithya on Thursday that her attempt to damage “national reputation and prestige” would lead to her father, Kem Sokha, receiving even harsher punishment. Sok Eysan issued the warning as Monovithya, who is the court dissolved

  • Preah Sihanouk beach developments halted

    After receiving an order from Hun Sen, Minister of Land Management Chea Sophara led a team of experts and relevant officials to Sihanoukville to call a halt to the illegal development of a beach. The prime minister ordered the Prek Treng beach in Otres commune