Cambodian man jailed for insulting king in Facebook posts

Three-year sentence issued in second known conviction under new lèse-majesté law

A Cambodian court has jailed a man for three years for insulting the king in Facebook posts, the second known conviction under a new lèse-majesté law enacted last year that rights groups fear could be used to stifle dissent.

“The court announced a verdict against Ieng Cholsa which sentenced him to three years in prison and ordered him to pay five million riels (£974),” a Phnom Penh municipal court spokesman said.

The Facebook posts, which the court found had insulted the Cambodian king, Norodom Sihamoni, were uploaded in June, the spokesman said.

Facebook did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The defendant could not be reached for comment and the court did not say whether he had a lawyer.

Cambodia’s lèse-majesté law was unanimously adopted by parliament in February last year. Rights groups expressed concerns at the time that the law, which is similar to legislation in neighbouring Thailand, could be used to silence government critics.

Last October a court in the northern province of Siem Reap jailed a member of the dissolved opposition Cambodia National Rescue party (CNRP) under the law.

The supreme court dissolved the CNRP in 2017 at the government’s request after it was found guilty of plotting to take power with the help of the US, an accusation the party and Washington have denied.

The prime minister, Hun Sen, and his ruling Cambodian People’s party won a general election in July that critics said was flawed because of a lack of a credible opposition, among other factors.

From Khmer news:

PHNOM PENH: A man who wrotes a Facebook page insulting the King of Cambodia has been sentenced by HE Thach Chandapis, a judge of the Phnom Penh Municipal Court on 9 January 2019, and sentenced to three years in prison. And a fine of 5 million riels.

Eang Chul Sar, born in 1992, was arrested at 16:40 on June 15, 2018, in Boeung Keng Kang II commune, Khan Chamkar Morn, Phnom Penh. Police Chief of Provincial Police Tbong on June 15, 2018, after facebook account Eeng Jalal and insulted the King on Tuesday 13th June 2018 at 9.16 pm.

Brigadier General Bornoth, Police Commissioner of Tbong Khmum said that after conducting social research in conjunction with the city which is suspected of the current address of the account holders such as: Svay Rieng, Phnom Penh The Anti-Tech Crime Department detained Ieng Jolaus at 16:40 on 15th March In 2018 in Boeung Keng Kang 2 commune, Chamkar Morn district, Phnom Penh, and sent to the Ministry of Interior Technology Anti-Crime Department for questioning to proceed to the trial.

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