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Man charged after criticising PM’s coronavirus response

Buth Reaksmey Kongkea / Khmer Times Share:
Lekh Seangly (Centre). Police

Kampong Thom Provincial Court today charged and jailed a man accused of inciting unrest over the government’s decision to cancel Khmer New Year celebrations and restrict inter-provincial travel in a bid to stem the coronavirus pandemic.

Major Duong Rithy, deputy chief of the Kampong Thom Provincial Internal Security Department, identified the accused as Lekh Seangly, 21, a gas vendor from Taing Kork district’s Treal commune.

Seangly was charged with “incitement to commit a felony” under Article 495 of the Criminal Code. If convicted, he faces up to two years in prison and a fine of between $250 and $1,000.

According to Maj Rithy, Seangly, in a Facebook post on April 10, said: “Prime Minister Hun Sen used the coronavirus epidemic as an excuse for the Kingdom’s economic losses when the downturn is, in fact, caused by the EBA withdrawal…Samdech Hun Sen is a foolish and arrogant prime minister.”

Maj Rithy said after the post was written, the internal security department, in collaboration with the Interior Ministry’s Anti-Cyber Department police, investigated to determine who’s behind the post and locate his whereabouts.

Seangly was arrested Monday at his residence, said Maj Rithy.

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