The Banteay Meanchey Provincial Court has released on bail a woman arrested and charged for allegedly insulting Prime Minister Hun Sen in a critical Facebook comment, though the 31-year-old will still face trial, according to an official quoted in local media.
The pro-government outlet Fresh News, which often releases official government material, quoted Banteay Meanchey Prosecutor Meas Chanpiseth as saying the accused, Mao Linda, had been released pending trial.
“The deputy prosecutor has sent the case to trial for insulting Samdach Techo Hun Sen,” he was quoted as saying. “The woman agreed to make a letter to apologise to Samdech Techo and we released her [on bail] and will wait for the trial in the future.”
The premier has been sensitive to online criticism, and has been accused of staging a recent crackdown against critical speech, the independent media, NGOs and the political opposition.
Linda, who was arrested on Saturday night in Poipet, had commented on an article on Fresh News about a speech by the premier in which she called him a “national betrayer”.
In a similar case earlier this year, an arrest warrant was issued for a garment worker from Kampong Speu province after she was filmed throwing a sandal at a billboard featuring the prime minister’s face.
The woman fled and remains in hiding.