Monday, December 20, 2010

“The government has been trying to move to shut down the political debate and other discussions [online]”: Hang Chhaya

UN staffer jailed for ‘anti-government’ materials

Sunday, 19 December 2010
Thet Sambath and Sebastian Strangio
The Phnom Penh Post

Phnom Penh Municipal Court yesterday sentenced a Cambodian United Nations employee to six months jail for disseminating material critical of the government, only two days after his arrest.

Seng Kunnaka, who is employed as a guard by the UN World Food Programme, was arrested in Russei Keo district on Friday in possession of printed material from the online news blog KI-Media.

Am Sam Ath, technical supervisor for local rights group Licadho, said Seng Kunnaka was convicted of criminal incitement under Article 495 of the new Penal Code. Judge Keo Vandy also ordered him to pay 1 million riels (US$250) in fines, he said.

Chet Khemara, a prosecutor at the court, was reluctant to discuss the contents of the printed material confiscated from Seng Kunnaka, saying he was too busy to talk yesterday.


Ung Borith, the police chief of Kilometre 6 commune, in Russey Keo district, said the arrest was made because Seng Kunnaka “spread information to other people to read”.

KI-Media, a popular blog run by Khmer exiles, aggregates news articles relating to Cambodia, and often takes a strong antigovernment line.

Seng Kunnaka’s speedy trial has come under attack from opposition figures and rights activists, who have described it as a clear attack on freedom of expression.

“This rushed trial and groundless conviction is further proof of the growing crackdown on freedom of expression by the Cambodian government,” Licadho Director Naly Pilorge said in a statement yesterday.

Naly Pilorge added that his conviction under the new Penal Code – which came into effect on December 10 – was a signal that free speech would suffer under the new legislation.

“The new criminal code in its current form is a threat to freedom of expression in the country. This conviction, exactly ten days after the enactment of the new criminal code, is clear evidence of that,” she added.

Opposition Sam Rainsy Party spokesman Yim Sovann said the party “condemned” the nature of Seng Kunnaka’s conviction.

“Some leaders are not generous. Who can feed his children while he is in prison?” he said.

He also downplayed suggestions that KI-Media was aligned with the SRP, saying that in either case it was a legitimate source that he had used himself.

Hang Chhaya, executive director of the Khmer Institute for Democracy, said he could not comment in detail as he had not seen the offending material. But he deplored any move to restrict debate on legitimate political topics.

The government has been trying to move to shut down the political debate and other discussions [online],” Hang Chhaya said. “This is incredible. I thought we’d ... moved beyond that now.”

WFP country director Jean-Pierre DeMargerie said via email yesterday that the organisation was “still trying to clarify the facts and developments of the last few days” leading up to Seng Kunnaka’s conviction.

WFP worldwide looks after the interests of its employees,” he said. “On this case, once clarity is obtained on above points, we’ll ensure that assistance is provided to staff as necessary and as appropriate.”

Government spokesman Khieu Kanharith declined to comment.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

chet khemara ey, ah preah reach ach nha ach yuon, ah nis tae chhmuos chet yuon, min men chet khemara (khmer) te.

Anonymous said...

bullshit case. how can a statesmanship be easily enraged by such critical information? if u can't stomach public opinion, step down from that position, then no one would bother to criticize you any more. Old head, childish brain.

Anonymous said...

Government should create another website against Sam Rainsy and let readers who support CPP to criticise Sam Rainsy.

Hun Sen Thok

Anonymous said...

Chet Khemara was too busy to answer the questions from news reporter . You must have been kidding Chet Khemara . How long will it take to answer one question ? I have been living overseas for more than half of my life but I never heard anyone said they can't answer the question because they were busy . If you don't know what to say to answer the question , just say no comment , that makes more sense .

Anonymous said...

Ah, judge Keo Vandy is a scarry crow. He is just following the rule of penalty code of Ah Sva Prey Government, Ah Chhker Yuon Hun Sen government.
Let me tell you Ah Svar Prey CPP I am not a SRP member, but I am just see who is aKhmer killer and who is a Khmer saver!
Go ahead if you think you can shut down KI,Mother Fucker!

Pee Anh,
Yeay Pek

Anonymous said...

Why they can jail him as UN-Employee easy because UN is page-tiger, Hun Sen know it very well, till he do what he wanted with UN as proof. During the war with Khmer Republic the Pol Pot' clique called USA as "Chak Kror Pot Chhea Klar Kror Dass" (in English ="USA as paper tiger). In fact, if B52 bombed till 1975, those will be numb or handicap till now.

Anonymous said...

KI-Media,is the Website of Hanoi.I don't believe that all comments are 100% from khmer people .Hanoi create this website for pushing khmer people fighting each other .It 's Hanoi ,they publish the picture of 4 TRAITOR ,because Hanoi think that these traitors are fruitless for them so Hanoi want to paint the bad paint on them before Hanoi kick the 4 traitors out and replace by other servants, this is the way that Hanoi use to do from before until now.

Anonymous said...

We are vietnam,we don't believe that china is strong enough ,china just a tiger stand up from sickness ,china can take economy from cambodia ,but we are vietnam ,we control already laos and cambodia ,we already put our people and our secrets agents every where in cambodia even in government and in CPP, we tie everything ,we don' care about china ,they use to lost a battle at our north vietnam and in 1979 ,we work hard ,we send our group suicide commando to phnom penh to catch samdat sihanouk before we push pol pot to the forest ,because we want samdat sihanouk stay with us ,but the china worker at phnom penh catch our commando and destory them ,but now samdat sihanouk come to support us by himself ,it's the good luck for us.Long live a great vietnam.

Anonymous said...

To 9:41PM

Don't change the subject! Ah Pleur! You Vietcong dog eater criminals are invading Cambodian farmland and the four traitors would rather sit on their hand and offer no help to resolve the Vietcong naked aggression!

Now Cambodian farmers become homeless and have no land to grow their food and this is a long slow painful death way for Cambodian farmers to die of hunger!


Hunger is when the human body feed on itself! This is no different under AH Hun Sen leadership because Cambodia is feeding on itself!

Anonymous said...

>.<

Anonymous said...

Hun Sen earlier said to Ranarith that if Ranarith entered politics again, be prepared for the insults, losing of respect, dignity, etc., etc. But there is always double talks and double standards.