Two former Cambodia Daily journalists have been charged with “incitement to commit a felony” over seemingly routine commune election coverage in Ratanakkiri.
The news comes a month after the paper was forced to close after the Tax Department slapped the English-language daily with a bill for $6.3 million.
The journalists, Aun Pheap and Zsombor Peter, now face up to two years in prison after Ratanakkiri Prosecutor Chea Pich laid charges on August 28 and sent the case to an investigating judge. Their defence lawyer, Sek Sophorn, however, said he was only notified of the charges yesterday.
Former Sam Rainsy Party Commune Chief Rmam Yout, along with two other villagers, alleged Pheap and Peter intended to “incite” by interviewing them about why Pate commune had previously elected the opposition party, but Sophorn said his clients’ questions were routine reporting and in no way amounted to incitement.
“According to my clients, they just interviewed them normally. They did not incite or commit any crimes,” he said. “There are no grounds for a crime.”
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