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Court Upholds Charges Against Angkor Lighting Critic

The Court of Appeals on Tuesday upheld a guilty verdict for a man accused of disinformation, following public remarks critical of a lighting project at Angkor Wat, but reduced the charges against him.

Moeung Sonn, who has fled the country, is facing a two-year prison sentence following a suit brought by the government in 2009. He had disseminated public remarks claiming the Apsara Authority was potentially damaging Angkor Wat by installing a lighting system around the temple.

Apsara officials denied the lights, which have since been taken down, posed a threat to the temple.

Moeung Sonn’s original charge of disinformation was dropped to “insulting” the Cambodian people. His two-year sentence was upheld, but a fine against him was dropped from about $3,500 to less than $1,000.

Defense attorney Sok Sam Oeun, executive director of the Cambodian Defenders Project, said he work with the defendant’s family to appeal to the Supreme Court.

Moeung Sonn’s wife, Yi Phally, 66, told reporters outside the court Wednesday her husband had only intended to protect the temples, not criticize the government. She also pointed out that the lights have since been taken down.