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Media Groups Call for Editor’s Release

Seven media organizations have sent a letter to King Norodom Sihamoni asking him to intervene in the prison sentence of an opposition newspaper editor.

Hang Chakra was jailed in June following the publication of a series of articles alleging corruption under the powerful Council Minister Sok An.

The letter asks that the king help intervene through his role as a member of the Supreme Council of Magistracy in interpreting legal matters at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court.

Pa Ngoung Teng, director of the Cambodian Center for Independent Media, said there had been irregularities in Hang Chakra’s June hearings. After the first hearing, after the defense had asked for more time to collect evidence, the court held a second hearing, sentencing Hang Chakra in absentia, he said.

And Sok Sovann, president of Khmer Journalists for Democracy, said the court should have used the media law passed by the National Assembly in 1995.

Chhoung Chou Ngy, lawyer for Hang Chakra, said he will wait for a response to the request before deciding on whether to appeal the 12-month sentence.