Barely four months after a Cambodian court jailed a man for insulting the king in Facebook posts, another Cambodian man has been arrested for insulting the king in Facebook post.
In January 2019, a Cambodian court had sentenced Ieng Cholsa to three years in prison because of his Facebook posts. The court said that Cholsa’s Facebook post insulted the Cambodian king, Norodom Sihamoni.
It was the second known conviction under Cambodia’s new lèse-majesté law enacted in 2018.
“The court announced a verdict against Ieng Cholsa which sentenced him to three years in prison and ordered him to pay five million riels (£974),” a Phnom Penh municipal court spokesman said.
In the recent incident, a 32-year-old man, Kim Panha, was arrested on Wednesday by Svay Rieng provincial police at his home in Bavit City for allegedly insulting the King, the Prime Minister and the other leaders in his Facebook posts.
Panha was subsequently charged the following day after arrest. The provincial court prosecutor cited the Criminal Code stating; “public defamation [Libel], insulting the King [lèse-majesté], insulting the public, and Incitement to Commit Crime”. Lèse-majesté (Article 42) is punishable with up to five years in prison.
Presiding Judge Sovann Chankrisna ordered the provincial prison chief to keep the accused in pretrial detention from May 23 until September 23.
In April 2019, Tboung Khmum Provincial Court also charged a 45-year-old with incitement to commit a felony after he posted messages on Facebook allegedly insulting the Prime Minister Hun Sen. He was placed in pretrial detention
Various Rights groups expressed fears that the Cambodia’s lèse-majesté law, which was unanimously adopted by parliament in February 2018, could be used to stifle dissent and silence government critics. They say it is similar to legislation in neighboring Thailand.
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