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Another Human Rights Activist Is In Hiding

At least another human rights activist is in hiding fearing arrest by authorities related to defaming the government, according the allegations of human rights officials and Cambodian authorities.

A well known human rights activist Kem Sokha director of the Cambodian Center for Human Rights (CCHR) and Mr. Yeng Virak director of the Community Legal Education Center (CLEC) were arrested and put in prison by authorities charged with defaming the government because of a banner, at a Human Rights Day celebration on 12-10-05.

CCHR's vice president Pang Nguon Tieng was alleged by human rights officials hiding at a safe place after receiving news that authorities are looking for him on defaming charges like Mr. Kem Sokha and Mr. Yeng Virak.

The Ministry of Interior's spokesman Khieu Sopheak and General Mou Khing, police chief allege they have not received news about the intention.

Mr. Pang Nguon Tieng cannot be reached for comment. Mr. Mou Khing director of the criminal police department of the Ministry of Interior alleges that he has not received news of the arrest yet.

According to sources close to the Phnom Penh municipal court, authorities are looking for another activist in connection with the banner defaming Prime Minister Hun Sen.

The authorities' action regarding the activists arrests prompts diplomats, civil societies and the people to worry about the freedom of speech and democracy.