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Government did not violate rights, freedom of the press, says Hun Sen

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Uon Chhin (centre) was one of the two arrested in 2017 for charges of espionage and alleged production of pornography. Heng Chivoan

Government did not violate rights, freedom of the press, says Hun Sen

The government did not violate the rights and freedom of the press as accused by a group of journalists inside and outside the country and some diplomats, following the arrest of two journalists in 2017.

Prime Minister Hun Sen said this when speaking to students and officials during the Cambodian University for Specialties (CUS) graduation ceremony.

Without mentioning any name, Hun Sen said that the journalist “took his wife to have sex with a foreigner and even filmed it himself. He also had an affair with other people’s wives which should not be tolerated.

“Some embassies have requested for the charges against him to be dropped and accused the government of violating the rights and freedom of the press”.

He continued: “This journalist is worse than an animal. He took his wife to have sex with a foreigner and even filmed it himself, while another had an extramarital affair with the wife of a man who lives in Kampot province and filmed himself as well.

“I don’t want to reveal [his name]. They did this, why not sentence them? They asked, ‘why not drop their charges?’ The sentencing has nothing to do with journalism.

“The sentencing is about producing a [pornographic] film. And don’t say that the case is a private incident because this is a violation [of the law],” stressed Hun Sen.

Uon Chhin, a former journalist of Radio Free Asia and one of the two arrested in 2017 for charges of espionage and alleged production of pornography, is still waiting for the Phnom Penh Municipal Court to deliver its verdict following his release on bail.

Phnom Penh Municipal Court spokesman Y Rin said on Wednesday that in Chhin’s case, the trial judge had assigned an investigating judge to review it. However, the court could not confirm details of the legal proceedings as the investigation must be kept confidential.

Addressing Cambodian Human Rights Committee (CHRC) president Keo Remy, Hun Sen asked him to take the two video clips made by Chhin to any embassy that had accused the Kingdom of violating the rights and freedom of the press.

Hun Sen said: “The worst was when he took his wife to have sex with a foreigner and filmed it himself. For this case, I would like to ask whether we violated the rights of the press.

“We did not violate [press rights] but sentenced [the individual for his crimes]. So for any embassy that accuses us, the films should be taken to them.”

Chhin, his defence lawyer Sam Chamroeun, and Remy could not be reached for comments by press time.

Chhin was arrested in November 2017 and detained until August 2018. He is currently under judicial supervision, following his release on bail by the Phnom Penh Municipal Court.

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