Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - US official summoned over leaks

US official summoned over leaks

US official summoned over leaks

110718_3
Foreign Minister Hor Namhong speaks to reporters in Phnom Penh last month.

FOREIGN Minister Hor Namhong summoned a senior American embassy official last week in protest over a United States diplomatic cable released by the anti-secrecy organisation WikiLeaks that accused the minister of participating in Khmer Rouge atrocities.

In a cable from the US embassy in Phnom Penh dated June 2002 that was one of hundreds of such dispatches made public by WikiLeaks last week, Alexander Arvizu, the embassy’s former deputy head of mission, cited an “undated, unattributed report on file” at the embassy that made allegations about Hor Namhong’s role at Boeung Trabek prison under the Khmer Rouge.

In a statement issued on Friday, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it had summoned Jeff Daigle, the US deputy head of mission and charge d’ affaires, to protest against the allegations in the cable, which the ministry said was “full of unacceptable maligned indictment”.

“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Cambodia calls for comments from the Embassy of the United States of America in Phnom Penh on this highly defamatory report,” the statement read.

The report in question says Hor Namhong survived the Khmer Rouge because he was a “schoolmate” of former KR foreign minister Ieng Sary.

“He became head of the Beng Trabek [sic] camp and he and his wife collaborated in the killing of many prisoners,” the US cable cites the report as saying.

A 2008 embassy cable, however, states that there is “little or no evidence” for such accusations, which have been raised repeatedly against Hor Namhong by opposition leader Sam Rainsy. That cable recounts efforts by then-US ambassador Joseph Mussomeli to mediate between Sam Rainsy and Hor Namhong after the former was threatened with legal action in relation to the allegations.

In April of this year, the self-exiled Sam Rainsy was convicted in absentia of defamation and inciting discrimination against Hor Namhong and sentenced to two years in jail by a Cambodian court for public comments he made in 2008 regarding the foreign minister’s role at Boeung Trabek.

However, a 2008 decision against Sam Rainsy by a French court, which ordered him to pay a symbolic, one-euro penalty for similar comments made in his autobiography, was overturned by the French Supreme Court in April.

US embassy spokesman Mark Wenig said in an email yesterday that Daigle had indeed met with Cambodian officials on Thursday, and that he had “related to the Foreign Minister that the US relationship with Cambodia is strong and based on common interests and shared goals”.

“We are confident that the partnerships the Obama administration has worked so hard to build in Cambodia will withstand this challenge,” Wenig said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Angkor Wat named as the top landmark for the second year

    Travel website TripAdvisor has named Cambodia’s ancient wonder Angkor Wat as the top landmark in the world for the second year running in their Travelers’ Choice Award 2018, an achievement Cambodian tourism operators expect will attract more tourists to the Kingdom. The website uses traveller

  • Hun Sen detractors ‘will die’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Wednesday said those who curse or insult him would eventually die without a plot of land to bury their bodies after being killed by lightning, suffering the same fate as those who recently died in Thmar Baing district in Koh

  • Ministry’s plan for net sparks fears

    The government has ordered all domestic and international internet traffic in the Kingdom to pass through a Data Management Centre (DMC) that has been newly created by the state-owned Telecom Cambodia, in a move some have claimed is an attempt to censor government critics. Spokesman

  • Monks given ‘Samdech’ title for contributions

    Three senior monks on Thursday were given the highest-ranking title “samdech”, with Prime Minister Hun Sen saying that the promotions were due to their contributions to Buddhism. The three distinguished monks were promoted on Thursday morning at Botum Vatey pagoda in Phnom Penh, at a