PHNOM PENH - Lawyers for survivors of the Khmer Rouge prison Tuol Sleng have requested that the court go forward with a case against a senior opposition leader.
Kem Sokha, vice president of the Cambodia National Rescue Party, is facing a complaint of public defamation, for alleged comments he made claiming Vietnamese forces had created a “falsified prison” in Tuol Sleng after they ousted the Khmer Rouge.
Those alleged comments angered some survivors of the prison, which was a major torture center for the Khmer Rouge. Kem Sokha has denied making the remarks, and has said an audio tape at the center of the allegations was doctored.
Kouy Thunna, a lawyer for Chum Mey, a Tuol Sleng survivor, and three others, said he filed a request to the court Wednesday that it act against Kem Sokha.
Kem Sokha’s supporters say the court case is an act of intimidation against the opposition by courts that are widely seen as politically biased and corrupt.
The announcement comes on the heels of another lawsuit filed against an opposition newspaper this week, this one by the government alleging that the paper defamed the military in a story in which it quoted Kem Sokha as being critical of security forces’ involvement in the July elections.
Both lawsuits invoke a defamation clause in the penal code that makes it a criminal offense, with punishment including jail time and fines.