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Court Calls in Another Editor for Questions

A second opposition newspaper editor was issued a subpoena Wednesday, to answer questions on a number of criminal charges, just one week after the jailing of his colleague.

The subpoena calls for Dam Sith, editor of Moneaksekar Khmer, to appear in court July 14, for questioning in a government lawsuit for defamation, insult, disinformation, incitement and a “breaking of solidarity.”

Dam Sith was briefly jailed in a lawsuit brought by Foreign Minister Hor Namhong last year, after publishing remarks by opposition leader Sam Rainsy implicating the minister in the Khmer Rouge.

Dam Sith told VOA Khmer Wednesday he received the summons June 29.

“Until this time, I did not know that government sued me for any articles, and I am looking for lawyer to defend my case,” he said.

Long Dara, a government lawyer, said Dam Sith was being sued for 18 articles written between February and May, “published to incite a conflict among senior government officials without fact.”

The articles were over the appointment of Gen. Pol Saroeun to commander-in-chief of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces, as he replaced Gen. Ke Kim Yan.

“We have much evidence to sue Dam Sith in these cases,” Long Dara said.

“These articles attacked the government and incited to have conflict and a break-up of internal government solidarity,” he said. “In the lawsuit, we site penal charges relating to articles 60, 61, 62, and 63 in the 1992 penal code.”

The case comes in the wake of a yearlong prison sentence for another opposition journalist.

Hang Chakra, chief of the Khmer Mchas Srok newspaper, was imprisoned and fined after publishing reports in April and May that implicated Council Minister Sok An in corrupt practices.

“I would like to call for the court to seriously investigate and to request the court use the media law to sentence or to have a hearing for Dam Sith’s case,” Um Sarin, president of the Cambodian Association for Protection of Journalists, said Wednesday.