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Newspaper Editor Called to Court Over Alleged Slander

The Phnom Penh Municipal Court subpoenaed the editor of a newspaper Thursday to answer questions next week over articles related to former King Norodom Sihanouk and his wife, after an article the former king claimed slanderous.

Sralanh Khmer editor Thach Keth said Thursday he received a subpoena for a hearing on April 12 on charges of publishing an article defaming the queen. He said he planned to show.

Former King Sihanouk threatened last month to sue the paper, after articles claiming the queen was not fit for her title. In a letter to the royal palace requesting them to sue, the King said his name and the name of Queen Norodom Monineath had been slandered.

"I think it is not my intention to tarnish his name," Thach Keth told VOA. "I translated [an] article and after the publication, I realized it could tarnish the king's honor. I think I would like to apologize to him to ask for his clemency."

Cambodia enjoys one of the freest press laws in Southeast Asia, and as a result wild, unfounded articles sometimes appear in print. Many papers support one political party or another.

Sralanh Khmer often publishes stories generous to the opposition Sam Rainsy Party.