Activist monk But Buntenh, media monitor Pa Nguon Teang and labour rights advocate Moeun Tola have each been summonsed to the Phnom Penh Municipal Court for questioning related to alleged misappropriation of funds for the funeral of murdered political analyst Kem Ley.
The complaint against the three rights advocates was filed earlier this month by Pich Sros, the leader of the Cambodian Youth Party. He has contended that after leading a fundraising campaign, the trio siphoned off donations for Ley’s funeral.
The litigious party leader, who has denied allegations that he is operating at the behest of the ruling party, also filed a suit in June against opposition leader Kem Sokha, who has since been detained on unrelated charges.
Nguon Teang, who heads the Cambodian Centre for Independent Media, and Tola, the executive director of labour rights NGO Central, are scheduled to appear in court on October 9. Buntenh is expected to appear two days later.
Yesterday, legal expert Sok Sam Oeun said Sros had no authority to file a civil complaint because he was not directly impacted by the alleged violation. “
If it’s a criminal case then it is up to the prosecutor . . . For a civil case [Sros] is not qualified to make a complaint,” Sam Oeun said, adding that only Ley’s family or somebody personally affected by the alleged violation could file a complaint.
Buntenh and Nguon Teang could not be reached yesterday, while Tola declined to comment.