Home > Local News > Rights groups slam jailing of WFP employee in Cambodia

Rights groups slam jailing of WFP employee in Cambodia

File photo of Cambodian people exercising in the early morning in front
of the Royal Palace in Phnom Penh. A World Food Programme employee in
Cambodia has been jailed for six months for printing and distributing
anti-government material in a sentence criticised Monday by rights
groups.
A World Food Programme employee in Cambodia has been jailed for six
months for printing and distributing anti-government material in a
sentence criticised Monday by rights groups.
A Phnom Penh court on Sunday sentenced Seng Kunnaka, a Cambodian who
reportedly works in a WFP warehouse, to six months in prison and a fine
of one million riel (250 dollars) — just two days after his arrest for
incitement.
“It’s shocking that we now see even a warehouse
employee at a UN agency with a print-out of materials from a website
can incur the wrath of this increasingly authoritarian Cambodian
government,” said Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director at Human Rights
Watch (HRW).
“This rushed trial and groundless conviction is
further proof of the growing crackdown on freedom of expression by the
Cambodian government”, local rights group Licadho said in a statement.
The
arrest and trial came less than 10 days after the introduction of a new
penal code in Cambodia that rights groups said could be used to silence
critics.
A government spokesman refused to comment on the verdict.
“This
was the court’s decision. My question is whether the WFP or human
rights organisations want to support the distribution of (such)
leaflets,” Khieu Kanharith told AFP.
The exact content of the
material was unclear. It was taken from a blog that collects news
stories and opinion pieces about Cambodia and is often critical of the
government.
Earlier this month, Prime Minister Hun Sen attacked
the WFP for saying that Cambodia was vulnerable to food shortages. The
UN organisation has denied making such claims.
Khieu Kanharith said there was no link between the arrest and Hun Sen’s remarks.
“This is an individual case… They did not prosecute WFP,” he said.
The
Cambodian government has come under fire from rights groups in recent
years for launching a number of defamation and disinformation lawsuits
against critics and opposition members.
Bangkok Post
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Categories: Local News
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