The Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Monday ordered the arrest of two minor party members for allegedly for incitement and insult against another minor party president, Pich Sros, in a complaint dating back to October 2019.
The court issued arrest warrants on April 20 for Heang Kimsroeun, the vice president of Khmer United Great Nation Party, and another party official, Thol Sophana, on the preliminary charges of incitement and insult. A police report linked to the arrest warrants suggests the duos recent whereabouts were unknown.
“According to the report on April 10, 2020, of the Toul Kork Administration Police Chief, the persons identified above have been identified as committing incitement to commit a felony and insult,” read the arrest warrant.
The Khmer United Great Nation Party was founded by Nhem Vanthorn, former secretary-general of Beehive Social Democratic Party, 2016 but did not contest the 2017 and 2018 elections. Nhem Vanthorn could not be contacted for this story.
Pich Sros, president of the Cambodian Youth Party and a member of the Supreme Council for Consultation and Recommendations, said on Tuesday that he filed complaints against these two in October 2019.
He accused the two men of insulting him and other members of the advisory council about his requesting the head of the National Authority for Border Affairs, Va Kimhong, for comment on the signing of the Cambodia-Vietnam border demarcation treaty.
“Heang Kimsroeun insulted, as well as confused the public into losing confidence in the Supreme Council for Consultation and Recommendations members, including me,” he said. “And this action is hard to accept.”
According to evidence submitted by Pich Sros, Hean Kimsroeun allegedly called the advisory group of being a puppet and not having any positive impact on the country, in a Facebook post. Whereas, Thol Sophana took to social media to accuse Pich Sros of working for the ruling Cambodian People’s Party.
Soeung Senkaruna, senior investigator at rights group ADHOC, said that the posts of the two Khmer United Great Nation Party officials were a mere expression of their opinions and criticism in their role as political party activists.
“[They] expressed that as political activists. They can look at the actions of public officials or other political parties who are doing something wrong. So, they have the right to criticize,” said the ADHOC spokesperson
Pich Sros has previously sued activist monk But Buntenh, independent media advocate Pa Nguon Teang, and labor rights activist Moeun Tola for allegedly mishandling funeral funds collected for slain political commentator Kem Ley.
He was also responsible for filing a complaint to the Ministry of Interior that was used as a pretext to dissolve the Cambodia National Rescue Party in late 2017.
VOA could not reach Phnom Penh Municipal Court spokespersons, Y Rin and Kuch Kimlong, for comment on Tuesday.