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Hun Sen Calls Rights Worker ‘an Idiot’

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, center, enters a car after a meeting in Senate headquarters in Phnom Penh, file photo.

Prime Minister Hun Sen on Thursday lashed out at the rights group Adhoc, angered by comments rights workers have made about land grabs in recent years.

During a speech in Phnom Penh, Hun Sen called a rights worker from the group “insolent and an idiot.”

Adhoc has thoroughly investigated myriad land grabs in recent years, documenting cases of hundreds of thousands of people displaced by economic development. It has been an outspoken critic of the forced evictions that have created an ongoing crisis in the country for years now.

Hun Sen appeared to be referring to remarks made Wednesday on VOA Khmer by Adhoc activist Ny Chakrya, following clashes between evictee protesters and security forces near the premier’s home earlier this week.

“You must not be so insolent, young man,” Hun Sen said. “If you want to overthrow the prime minister, please go ahead, if your head is armored. He thinks he has VOA and [Radio Free Asia], but I have TV.”

Ny Chakrya said Thursday he has a right to “freedom of expression,” as does Hun Sen.