Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Sovantha critic faces jail after summons

Sovantha critic faces jail after summons

Popular Facebook user Sok Sovanvathana Sarapong faces potential arrest after being sued for defamation and "incitement" by CPP card carrying member Thy Sovantha. Facebook
Popular Facebook user Sok Sovanvathana Sarapong faces potential arrest after being sued for defamation and "incitement" by CPP card carrying member Thy Sovantha. Facebook

Sovantha critic faces jail after summons

A Phnom Penh Municipal Court prosecutor has requested the court put a popular social media user in pre-trial detention for ignoring a summons related to a defamation and “incitement” suit filed by fellow social media celebrity Thy Sovantha.

The Facebook user Sok Sovanvathana Sarapong, widely known as William Guang, can be put into pre-trial detention if directed by a Phnom Penh judge. The preliminary charges against him include defamation and incitement to discriminate, with the latter carrying a prison sentence of up to three years.

Documents from the prosecutor’s office show that Sovantha filed the suit on December 4, taking offence to Facebook posts from Sovanvathana Sarapong, which included him calling her an “evil person”, “a student who escaped her exams” and that “she deserved to be hit with a shoe”.

Sovanvathana Sarapong on Tuesday said he had received two summonses, asking for a delay because he was overseas. But he said Prosecutor Soeun Monyrath had ended the investigation, recommending arrest.

“She is a public figure and anybody can constructively criticise her,” he said, referring to an NGO she runs and her high-profile membership in the ruling Cambodian People’s Party. He added that if he were to be arrested it would be based on illegal procedures from the prosecutor.

Sovantha has shown a proclivity for filing defamation cases against political leaders and social media users, especially those from the opposition. While she was aligned with the opposition during the 2013 elections, her relationship soured with the Cambodia National Rescue Party owing to her cosying up to Prime Minister Hun Sen and his party.

MOST VIEWED

  • Hun Sen to ‘step down’ if he loses Sam Rainsy bet over Kem Sokha

    Hun Sen has promised to step down as prime minister while opposition figure Sam Rainsy pledges to turn himself in as forfeits if the long-term political rivals lose a “bet” over the future of former opposition leader Kem Sokha, who is on bail awaiting trial

  • UAE prince seeks to invest in Cambodia

    The UAE has expressed interest in Cambodian oil and gas exploration. Minister of Mines and Energy Suy Sem said this was the result of his discussions with Sheikh Ahmed bin Dalmook bin Juma al-Maktoum, a member of the royal family who visited him on Wednesday.

  • Smith calls for ‘release’ of Sokha as visit ends

    At a press conference to conclude her 11-day visit to Cambodia, UN Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in Cambodia Rhona Smith on Thursday called for treason charges against former opposition leader Kem Sokha to be dropped and for him to be released from “restricted detention”.

  • PM denies ‘nepotism’ claims

    Prime minister Hun Sen denied on Thursday that nepotism was involved in the recent promotions of the children of senior government officials. He said they had been “trained” and were entirely capable of carrying out their duties while being open to “punishment” like anyone else.