Phnom Penh Municipal Court has charged a 27-year-old man for posting a death threat on Facebook.
Phang Seiha, who is originally from Prey Veng province, was arrested Saturday in the border town of Poipet, where he was returning to Cambodia from Thailand.
Authorities say he posted a death threat to Sok Touch, an academic who is tasked with reviewing Cambodia’s border demarcation with Vietnam, but his family is seeking the aid of rights groups in defending him.
Police say on Aug. 29, Phang Seiha allegedly posted a picture of Sok Touch, along with photos of a pistol and bullets, with text saying they were for killing the “PhD guy, who changes Cambodia history; the PhD who sold himself to Vietnam.”
He was questioned by the court on Monday and faces up to two years in jail if convicted, Sieng Sok, the court prosecutor, told VOA Khmer. “I have opened an investigation and sent the case to the [investigating] judge, related to a death threat,” he said.
Sok Touch, a professor of social science at the Royal Academy of Cambodia, said he has recently received a number of threats, via phone and Facebook, but has no plans to file legal action. He appealed to his critics to give him time to finish his work, over the next two years, which will help clarify border disputes. “When I finish my thesis, I will leave it on the table, and all parties will have the right to question me. And if there are any unclear issues, we can go there and check it together.”
Ny Chakrya, head of legal assistance for the rights group Adhoc, said they have received a request from the accused family for legal aid. “We are investigating his ability first to send it via Facebook and phone message,” he said. The group may give him legal support to him, since we has already been questioned at court without a lawyer.