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Local journalist accused of defamation

Khy Sovuthy / Khmer Times Share:
Sat Chanbut works for Rasmei Kampuchea Daily. Supplied

Mondulkiri Provincial Court yesterday questioned a local journalist following a complaint by a military officer that he had defamed him over an alleged land dispute.

Deputy prosecutor Mam Vanda identified him as Sat Chanbut, 34, who works for Rasmei Kampuchea Daily, and said the court will continue processing the case.

“We have questioned him but this is only a preliminary inquiry, so the provincial court will continue the procedure,” he noted.

Mr Vanda noted that he questioned Chanbut over a report he posted on his Facebook page alleging that the officer Colonel Sophat Sereivuthy was involved in land dispute with an indigenous family involving 40 hecatres of land.

According to the court summons, Chanbut was asked to appear for questioning after Col Sereivuthy had sued him for public defamation and incitement to commit a felony by posting the allegation on Facebook in July and August.

Seng Singheng, Col Sereivuthy’s lawyer, yesterday said that Chanbut had accused his client of being in a dispute with an indigenous family over 40 hectares in Pouchhab village in O’Raing district’s Dakdam commune.

Mr Singheng said that the report is wrong because his client only owned two hectares of land in the commune.

“If my client really had 40 hectares, we will not complaint against him,” he said. “My client did not illegally grab the land from an indigenous family as he posted in his Facebook page.”

Chanbut yesterday said that Mr Vanda questioned him and allowed him to go home.

He said that he posted the information about the land dispute because an indigenous woman had accused Col Sereivuthy of encroaching into her land in Poutreng village in O’Raing district’s Dakdam commune.

He noted that he did not write that the dispute was over land in Pouchhab village as Col Sereivuthy has complained.

“I did not receive any request for a correction from Col Sereivuthy,” Chanbut said, noting that he posted the report after receiving a land document from the indigenous family.

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