The owner of Beehive FM 105 MHZ radio station was picked up by police and held in a Phnom Penh jail early Tuesday from a house he was staying. Dozen of police surrounded the house since Monday night with an arrest warrant.
Mam Sonando was charged with defaming government leaders in an interview with an France-based expert on Cambodia border issues Sean Pengse.
The US embassy issued a statement strongly condemning the detention of the radio station owner and "called for his release while his case is being reviewed and call on the government to exercise the utmost prudence in applying defamation laws against members of the press." Human rights groups in Cambodia are watching the case closely.
The government said Mam Sonando's reports are not balanced and that he did not air the government's views on the border issues. Speaking to VOA right before his detention, the Beehive owner said he has invited government officials many times in the past to present their side of the story but they did not respond to him.
Concerning the interview with Mr. Sean Pengse, Mam Sonando said he had planned to get the government's reaction when PM Hun Sen returns from Vietnam.