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Policeman Denies Threatening Opposition Official Via Facebook

  • Heng Reaksmey
  • VOA Khmer

Opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) leader Sam Rainsy, right, accompanied by his party's Vice President Kem Sokha, second from right, waves to his party supporters during a public forum of the July 28 election result, in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Monday, Aug. 26, 2013. Rainsy told thousands of supporters that his party will stage massive protests unless an independent committee begins investigating alleged irregularities in last month's election. (AP Photo/Heng Sinith)

Opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) leader Sam Rainsy, right, accompanied by his party's Vice President Kem Sokha, second from right, waves to his party supporters during a public forum of the July 28 election result, in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Monday, Aug. 26, 2013. Rainsy told thousands of supporters that his party will stage massive protests unless an independent committee begins investigating alleged irregularities in last month's election. (AP Photo/Heng Sinith)

PHNOM PENH - Opposition officials say they want an investigation launched into an alleged online threat to their party’s vice president.

Members of the Cambodia National Rescue Party say a Facebook message was sent to the party’s vice president, Kem Sokha, that included photos of a pistol and ammunition.

Kem Sokha, who is currently in the US, is at the center of a lawsuit of a leading opposition paper that is accused of defamation of the military, for comments he made critical of security forces’ role in the July election and post-election demonstrations.

He is also being sued for defamation by four Khmer Rouge survivors who are angered at allegations that he made remarks that Vietnamese forces falsified the truth of Tuol Sleng prison. He has denied those allegations.

Yim Sovann, a spokesman for the opposition, said the Facebook message was a clear threat that warrants investigation by police.

“The authorities should open an investigation, to avoid a criminal act against a politician,” he said.

The account is linked to a municipal policeman named Pheng Vannak. Pictures sent from the Facebook account included images of bullets and a pistol, along with threats to “shoot” Kem Sokha.

Pheng Vannak on Thursday denied having sent the message, claiming someone else could have used his account. “I am not so stupid as to do this,” he said.

Chhoun Sovan, the chief of Phnom Penh police, declined to comment on the alleged threat.

But Chan Soveth, deputy director of investigations for the rights group Adhoc, said the case needs an investigation. Without one, he said, the perpetrator will remain at large.
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