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11 Nov 2020

Khuon Narim, CamboJA

Cambodia: Phnom Penh Municipal Court sentence a journalist to 18 months imprisonment for incitement charges on his Facebook page

"Another journalist convicted for incitement, sentenced to 18 months", 11 November 2020

The Phnom Penh Municipal Court has convicted and sentenced newspaper publisher Ros Sokhet to 18 months in prison for using sensational language in Facebook posts criticizing government officials, including Prime Minister Hun Sen.

The “Cheat Khmer” newspaper publisher was arrested in June for the critical Facebook posts and is the second conviction of a journalist …

Judge Yi Sokvouch … handed Sokhet an 18-month sentence, of which he has already served close to five months. Sokhet was also given a $500 fine as well.

Sam Sokong, Sokhet’s defence lawyer, said he was disappointed at the decision and was preparing to file an appeal at the Court of Appeals…

… Sokhet’s wife, Chun Sovoeun, 35, was upset that her husband will remain in prison and hoped that he would be released to treat his health concerns…

Ith Sothoeuth, media director at the Cambodian Center for Independent Media, expressed concern over the case’s potential to curtail press freedoms and affect the work of journalists in the country.

“It is a threat to freedom of the press,” he said, adding that Sokhet’s posts were his personal opinion.

… Cambodian Journalists Alliance (CamboJA) recorded 59 journalists … who had been the victims of violence, arrest, death or court complaints. Of those, 27 were arrested, seven had faced violence and one died, in what police called a traffic accident.

Nop Vy, executive director at CamboJA, echoed Sothoeuth’s concerns that the conviction of Sokhet threatened press freedoms and the expression of personal opinions…