Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Indigenous insults on Facebook get hearing



Indigenous insults on Facebook get hearing

Indigenous insults on Facebook get hearing

A youth member of the League for Democracy Party was tried yesterday at Phnom Penh Municipal Court on allegations he publicly insulted the Kuoy ethnic group, allegedly calling their traditions “crazy” and “stupid”.

Theam Sotthea, 25, who is an ethnic Kuoy himself, was sued by three groups, including the Cambodian Indigenous Youth Association (CIYA), for posts on Facebook he made in August.

Hang Sokna, the presiding judge, said the accused had been charged with “public insult” under Article 307 of the Criminal Code.

Sotthea’s comments were made on August 10, a day after World Indigenous People’s Day, when numerous ethnic groups gathered in Ratanakkiri province, slaughtered cattle and pigs, and performed traditional rituals, according to CIYA president Pheap Sochea.

Sotthea had attended the event, he added, and afterwards posted on Facebook that the groups were practicing “crazy traditions” that were “cruel and useless”, and railed against the “stupid acts of ethnic peoples” that were “not the way towards progress”.

Sokna said that the ethnic community was asking for a public apology and three buffalo from Sotthea.

During yesterday’s hearing, Sotthea admitted to having made the online comments, but said he did not defame or insult anyone and was merely stating his opinion.

“I had no intention to look down on or insult indigenous people,” he said.

A verdict is due August 31.

MOST VIEWED

  • Cambodia on the verge of national tragedy, WHO warns

    The World Health Organisation (WHO) in Cambodia warned that the country had reached another critical point amid a sudden, huge surge in community transmission cases and deaths. “We stand on the brink of a national tragedy because of Covid-19. Despite our best efforts, we are

  • Phnom Penh placed in two-week lockdown

    The government has decided to place Phnom Penh in lockdown for two weeks, effective April 14 midnight through April 28, as Cambodia continues to grapple with the ongoing community outbreak of Covid-19, which has seen no sign of subsiding. According to a directive signed by Prime Minister

  • Vaccination open to foreigners in Cambodia

    The Ministry of Health on April 8 issued an announcement on Covid-19 vaccination for foreigners residing and working in Cambodia, directing the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training and local authorities to register them. Health minister Mam Bun Heng, who is also head of the inter-ministerial

  • Cambodia gears up for muted New Year festival

    The recent curfew and restrictions imposed in the capital and other Covid-19 hotspots were intended to break the chain of transmission, Ministry of Health spokeswoman Or Vandine said as municipal and provincial authorities issued new directives banning certain activities during the upcoming Khmer New Year

  • Culture ministry: Take Tuol Sleng photos down, or else

    The Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts has told Irish photographer Matt Loughrey to take down the photos of Khmer Rouge victims at Tuol Sleng Genocidal Museum which he allegedly colourised and altered to show them smiling. The ministry said Loughrey's work is unacceptable, affecting

  • Covid-19 vaccination now obligatory

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on April 11 issued a sub-decree making Covid-19 vaccination compulsory for individuals unless they have a medical certificate proving they have pre-existing health conditions that prevent them from doing so. «This applies to all members of the armed forces and civil servants