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Opposition Seeks Visit of Jailed Journalist

Opposition lawmakers on Thursday made a request to Phnom Penh court to visit a jailed opposition journalist who arrested following a verdict last week he had printed false information about a senior official.

Hang Chakra, chief of the Khmer Mchas Srok newspaper, was sentenced to 12 months in prison and fined $2,195, after publishing reports in April and May that implicated Council Minister Sok An in corrupt practices.

Sok An, who is responsible for some of the nation’s most important matters, including the Khmer Rouge tribunal and offshore oil exploration, filed suit, alleging the articles could affect political stability, as they were written about government leaders.

Police arrested Hang Chakra immediately after the verdict was announced, June 26.

“We want to visit him and ask him about some affairs about the arrest,” Sam Rainsy Party lawmaker Yim Sovann told VOA Khmer Thursday.

Chhoung Chu Ngy, Hang Chakra’s lawyer, said he had requested release on the grounds that his detention was unjust. He also said he plans to appeal the verdict.

Chiv Keng, chief of Phnom Penh Municipal Court, and judge Din Sivuthy, who handled the case, could not be reached for comment, but a court official who asked not to be named said the court was considering the visitation request.