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Former King Sues Opposition Paper

Former King Norodom Sihanouk plans to file suit against an opposition newspaper he says slandered him with an unjust article.

A message in French from the former king asks Kong Samol, minister of the Royal Palace, to bring suit again the Sralanh Khmer newspaper and writer Yim Sem for attacking him and former Queen Monineath with "scornful" words.

The newspaper, which supports the Sam Rainsy Party, has three outstanding suits against it, but the paper's editor, Thach Keth, said he wasn't worried about this one. He had only published the words of the writer, Thach Keth said.

The article calls into question Monineat's right to be called "Queen Mother" or "Queen Grandmother" and links the former King Sihanouk to atrocities committed by the Khmer Rouge.

Kong Samol should seek a competent lawyer who loves truth and justice, the former king wrote, adding that he and the former queen would each be filing separate suits.

Pen Somithi, president of the Cambodian Press Club, said such allegations have been leveled at the former king in the past and that he would watch the case.

Sralanh Khmer has outstanding lawsuits with Hun To, the nephew of Prime Minister Hun Sen; Chiv Keng, chief of Phnom Penh Municipal Court; and Prince Norodom Chakrapong, acting president of the Norodom Ranariddh Party.