Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Equitable Cambodia defamation convictions overturned

Equitable Cambodia defamation convictions overturned

Equitable Cambodia’s Eang Vuthy visits a land dispute community in Phnom Penh in 2012.
Equitable Cambodia’s Eang Vuthy visits a land dispute community in Phnom Penh in 2012. Chhay Channyda

Equitable Cambodia defamation convictions overturned

The Appeal Court this morning overturned defamation convictions for three staffers from NGO Equitable Cambodia (EC) brought by a former employee.

EC Executive Director Eang Vuthy and staffers Chheang Phea and Phen Kimsong were found guilty of public defamation by a Phnom Penh court in August 2016 over an internal memo circulated among the three regarding the conduct of Chan Vichet, a former employee of the land rights NGO.

While EC maintained that the memo detailing Vichet’s conduct had been kept confidential, Vichet claimed it had been discussed with his co-workers, giving him grounds for the lawsuit.

Judge Nhoung Thol this morning said there was no evidence to back Vichet’s charges that the memo constituted public defamation and overturned the conviction, according to court spokesman Touch Tharith.

After the hearing, Vuthy only said he was relieved to have received a favourable verdict.

“Yes, the Appeal Court overturned the verdict. We are of course very pleased with the result and grateful to the court for delivering this decision,” he said via text message.

The three were each handed an approximately $2,000 fine and ordered to pay around $2,400 as compensation to Vichet, after a lower court found them guilty despite a prosecutor’s admission at the time that there was no evidence to back the accusations.

As an Equitable Cambodia employee, Vichet worked with local communities in land disputes related to ruling party Senator Ly Yong Phat’s firm, Phnom Penh Sugar Company, in Kampong Speu province.

Community members later alleged that Vichet had begun working on behalf of the sugar company.

Vichet, who did not go to the trial hearing claiming he had not received a summons, was also absent yesterday and said he was unaware of the verdict. Instead, he threatened to file a lawsuit against The Post.

The Phnom Penh Post has published untrue things and previously has twisted my name,” he said. “Now I am preparing complaint against The Phnom Penh Post [because it] has written untrue thing.”

A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that allegations that Vichet worked on behalf of Phnom Penh Sugar Company led to his dismissal. In fact, the reasons for his dismissal have not been disclosed by Equitable Cambodia.

MOST VIEWED

  • Cambodia unveils new quarantine regulations

    The government has modified Covid-19 quarantine requirements, shortening the duration for, among others, Cambodian officials, foreign diplomats and delegations, investors and inbound travellers in general. According to an official notice signed by Minister of Health Mam Bun Heng late on October 16, quarantine length for Cambodian

  • Cambodia sets new Covid-19 quarantine rules

    The government has modified Covid-19 quarantine requirements, shortening the duration for, among others, Cambodian officials, foreign diplomats and delegations, investors and inbound travellers in general. According to an official notice signed by Minister of Health Mam Bun Heng late on October 16, quarantine length for Cambodian

  • Hun Sen: Cambodia set to fully reopen

    Prime Minister Hun Sen concludes that the October 5-7 Pchum Ben public holiday, during which many people either flocked to their hometowns for family reunion or gathered at tourist attractions across the country, has not caused an outbreak of Covid-19. In a special address to

  • Will Evergrande change the way Chinese developers do business in Cambodia?

    China’s property sector policy has exposed the grim financial condition of real estate developers including those operating in Cambodia, which raises questions over the viability of their projects and business going forward The dark blue netting draping over one of Yuetai Group Co Ltd’

  • Cambodia resumes issuance of tourist visas

    The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation has announced the resumption of its tourist visa and visa exemption programme after a long hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic. In a letter dated October 20 and addressed to foreign embassies and consulates, foreign minister Prak Sokhonn

  • Cambodia voted ‘world’s friendliest country’ in Rough Guides reader poll

    Cambodia ranked number one among the “World’s Friendliest Countries”, according to a reader poll conducted by London-based international website “Rough Guides”. Taking submissions through Twitter and Facebook, “Rough Guides”, a well-known travel agency and publisher of guidebooks, said the Kingdom “was by far the