A Cambodian pro-government information website revealed particulars from a phone dialog between a high opposition celebration official and his alleged mistress, prompting one political observer to induce authorities to research the obvious phone tapping.
FreshNews cited a Fb web page known as “khmer leak” in its report about a number of cellphone calls between Candlelight Occasion Secretary Normal Lee Sothearayuth and his alleged mistress.
Publishing a personal phone dialog with out consent in an try to destroy an opponent’s status and dignity is a breach of privateness, political commentator Seng Sary mentioned. If the discharge of personal phone dialog was politically motivated, the individuals who ordered the discharge are conducting soiled politics, he mentioned.
“That is unethical and shouldn’t occur in a civilized society,” he mentioned.
FreshNews additionally revealed a phone dialog between opposition chief Kem Sokha and his alleged mistress in 2016. The outlet beforehand launched a phone dialog between Ho Vann, a senior official within the now-banned Cambodia Nationwide Rescue Occasion, and his alleged mistress as effectively.
Extra arrests of opposition activists
The report comes because the ruling Cambodian Folks’s Occasion and Prime Minister Hun Sen have been working to silence and intimidate opposition figures forward of the July common elections.
Earlier this month, Kem Sokha was sentenced to 27 years in jail for treason. And earlier this week, two opposition activists had been arrested in Phnom Penh after they posted feedback on Fb that appeared to check Hun Sen with King Norodom Sihamoni.
Activists from the Candlelight Occasion — now the primary challenger to the ruling celebration — not too long ago mentioned that police have been monitoring their conferences and native authorities have been defacing and stealing celebration indicators and billboards. Candlelight Occasion activists in nearly all provinces have reported instances of intimidation and harassment, celebration spokesman Kim Bitter Phirith mentioned in early March.
On Friday, three Candlelight Occasion activists had been arrested and charged with falsifying paperwork. The arrests had been made 4 hours earlier than the conviction of 13 individuals in Phnom Penh Municipal Court docket on related expenses from final yr associated to the formation of the Nationwide Coronary heart Occasion.
The Ministry of Inside mentioned final yr that the small political celebration collected a number of hundred cast thumbprints on paperwork it filed when it registered forward of the 2022 commune elections.
Seam Pluk, president of the Nationwide Coronary heart Occasion, was convicted on Friday and sentenced to two years and 6 months in jail. The opposite 12 defendants got two-year sentences, however they continue to be at-large.
The three Candlelight Occasion activists who had been arrested Friday had been additionally charged within the Nationwide Coronary heart Occasion case. The three defendants solely not too long ago joined the Candlelight Occasion.
The spouse of certainly one of Friday’s arrestees mentioned her husband – Contact Teng, Candlelight Occasion’s committee chairman for Kampong Cham province – wasn’t concerned with the gathering of signatures and thumbprints when he labored for the Nationwide Coronary heart Occasion.
“It is a politically motivated arrest as a result of my husband is likely one of the celebration’s leaders,” the spouse mentioned.
The Nationwide Coronary heart Occasion’s case is an outdated one which has solely been revived now that the election is drawing close to and the Candlelight Occasion has been gathering supporters, Kim Bitter Phirith mentioned.
Cambodia’s legislation on cellphone tapping
Radio Free Asia couldn’t attain Nationwide Police spokesman Chhay Kim Khoeun about Friday’s arrests or about FreshNews’ report on Lee Sothearayuth’s cellphone calls.
Re-broadcasting a personal dialog is a criminal offense, Khmer Scholar Clever League Affiliation President Koeu Saray mentioned, pointing to Article 368 of Cambodia’s penal code, which states that anybody convicted of tapping a cellphone dialog with out consent will be imprisoned from two months to at least one yr.
“It was embarrassing for FreshNews to submit it,” Koeu Saray mentioned. “It’s a concern. Cambodia has a legislation however it isn’t being enforced.”
The leaked phone dialog has nothing to do with the CPP, celebration spokesman Sok Ey San mentioned. Media shops have the authorized proper to air such content material, and people who’re affected can request a correction, he added.
RFA was unable to succeed in Lee Sothearayuth for remark.
Translated by Samean Yun. Edited by Matt Reed and Malcolm Foster.