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PM Hun Sen Reverses Position on Dropping Suits Against Activists

Prime Minister Hum Sen immediately reverses defamation lawsuit against activists saying he cannot drop the lawsuit or suspend it, and that to get around the court's decision, he proposed that the court proceedings be deferred.

He made this statement today at a University commencement in Phnom Penh, about his change of mind. He says he suggests to postpone the court proceedings to keep the situation quiet.

Last week Mr. Hun Sen said he would consider dropping all charges, saying he wanted to stop the legal fight.

During a speech to graduate students Monday, Mr. Hun Sen said the court had replied to his request by saying it was impossible to comply since the activists had already been charged and legal investigations were under way.

It looks like Mr. Hun Sen mocks the international community when he says today that the more international pressure mounts, the (activists) will stay in the prison longer.

The activists released from prison are radio journalist Mam Sonando, union leader Rong Chhun, Kem sokha, and Pa Nguon Teang both with the U.S. funded Cambodian Center for Human Rights (CCHR), and Community Legal Education Center Yeng Vireak.

They were charged with defamation and border issues. They were released on bail, and the charges were dropped last week.

The Cambodia Center for Human Rights' director Kem Sokha cannot be reached for comment.

Cambodia Defenders Project executive director Sok Sam Oeun says that Cambodia should have a referendum to see if such laws dated from the UNTAC era should be used.