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More journalists face charges

Pav Suy / Khmer Times No Comments Share:
Moeun Vanna speaks to reporters in Phnom Penh. KT/Chor Sokunthea

Ten more complaints have been lodged with Ratanakkiri provincial court accusing two journalists in pre-trial detention and two new alleged suspects with extortion, a court official said yesterday.
On Saturday, reporters Peng Sothearak from CPN TV Online, Mey Menghuy from Phnom Penh News newspaper, Yorn Tith from Khmer Youth Media, and Chan Nara from TNM TV Online, were charged with extortion.
All are being detained.
Provincial court spokesman Hak Horn confirmed yesterday he had received ten more complaints from local people.
The complaints also implicate two other journalists – Chey Chandavy and Moeun Vanna – in addition to naming Yorn Tith and Chan Nara again. 
Mr Vanna, who is editor of TNM TV Online, said on Tuesday that the complaint against his reporter, Yorn Tith, and the other three was probably a setup by a timber trader to intimidate journalists from reporting their crimes.
However, Mr Horn said yesterday that all the complainants had given their real names, ages and occupations though he declined to say who they were.
“Some of them identified themselves as farmers. Right now, the prosecutor is arranging the cases and each deputy prosecutor will prepare the summons,” he said.
Mr Vanna said he had not received notice of the complaint but it was baseless. 
“I don’t know what the accusation is about because I am based in Phnom Penh,” he said. 
“How can it be an extortion allegation if I am working in Phnom Penh but I have a reporter based in Ratanakkiri province?” 
He said the fresh allegations were also a setup. 
“My staff told me the military police asked if I also received a benefit from the alleged extortion,” he said. 
“But I have never been involved in any work in Ratanakkiri province.” 

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