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Serei Kosal defamation costs woman 30M riel

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A photo of the Supreme Court in Phnom Penh taken in October 2017. Hong Menea

Serei Kosal defamation costs woman 30M riel

The Appeal Court on Thursday ordered a woman to pay 30 million riel to Serei Kosal, deputy head of the country’s National Authority for Land Dispute Resolution, for defaming him on Facebook.

“In the defamation case related to Serei Kosal, both parties filed lawsuits at the Appeal Court. Finally, the court decided to hear it on July 18 and uphold the same verdict as before,” Judge Sin Visal, Council Chief of the Appeal Court said as he read the verdict. Both parties were absent.

According to the Oddar Meanchey provincial court, in March last year, the defendant Heng Met, 42, from Sith Serei village, Kork Mon commune, Banteay Ampel district, posted allegations on her Facebook that Kosal used his government position to illegally grab land from the people.

Following the post, Kosal filed a lawsuit against Met in the provincial court stating that the accused had defamed him as a senior government official and also his wife Yin Sophea.

‘Amicable deal’ broken

On February 28, the court ordered Met to pay 20 million riel to Kosal for defamation and another 10 million riel in compensation to his wife. The court also confiscated a camera from her.

The two parties attempted to reach a compromise on the issue at the district and provincial hall, and a deal was struck between them. But Met proceeded to file an appeal.

During the July hearing, Kosal told the Appeal Court judge that an amicable deal was reached, but he did not know why she appealed again.

Kosal said he had accepted the provincial court’s verdict, and Met sought the help of a military official and a lawmaker to negotiate and resolve the case. But yet she had appealed.

“I sued her for defamation for the Facebook post because nearly 100,000 people viewed the page and clicked like [for the story],” he told the court.

Met could not be reached for comment. According to the Appeal Court’s records, she pleaded guilty.

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