A Phnom Penh Court has issued a subpoena for at least four members of the Cambodia Monitoring Council, an independent organization like that of Mr. Mam Sonando's Beehive radio station FM 105, on charges of defaming the government for losing many thousands of square kilometers of land and sea to Vietnam.
Prosecutor Uk Savuth and investigative judge Kong Saet issue this subpoena the same day that Prime Minister Hun Sen charges the four men of criticizing him on the signing of the Supplemental Border Treaty with Vietnam.
Mr. Hun Sen said that this act creates trouble in the country. Mr. Hun Sen appeals to "foreign friends not to meddle in Cambodia's internal affairs as he never did so in the past to them". Mr. Uk Savuth and judge Kong Saet cannot be reached for comment.
Sources close to Phnom Penh Court and a high ranking police officer allege that there was a subpoena for the four members including Mr. Rong Chhun, Teachers Association's president, Mr. Men Naath, independent government officials association's president, Mr. Chea Moni, president of the Kingdom of Cambodia's Association of Free Labor Union Workers, and Mr. Ea Channa, under secretary of the Student Movement for Democracy. The Phnom Penh court issues the subpoena after it called the four men to clarify in court.
The four men have been criticizing the government on corruption, gas price hike and border issues. They cannot be reached for comment. Human rights officials told VOA that they are in hiding.
A general in the Interior Ministry said authorities are looking for the four men even if they take refuge at the UN Human Rights office.
U.S. Embassy's Public Affairs' officer John Daigle in Phnom Penh said that he was not aware about the subpoena, but he can make a general statement that the Embassy supports the rights of the free press and the freedom of expression.
In a letter received by VOA Friday, Prince Sisowath Tomico confirms about the Vietnamese control of island Koh Tral in 1982 which former King Norodom Sihanouk defended in 1949 up to the Khmer Rouge regime. Mr. Kem Sokha, director of Cambodia Human Rights Center said that the government seems to show its campaign to crack down on the opposition by using the court. Human Rights officials express concern on the loss of freedom of expression. Cambodian civil societies have the same concern.