Cambodian woman jailed for social media defamation

A Phnom Penh court on Friday sentenced a woman to one year in jail for Facebook comments in which she accused Cambodian Prime Minster Hun Sen of masterminding the murder of government critic Kem Ley.

Hin Vansreypov was arrested in Banteay Meanchey province on July 10 after calling Hun Sen and his family “killers” in a social media post marking the first anniversary of Ley’s murder.

“Hun Sen’s family are the killers. Each family member has the blood of Kem Ley on their hands,’’ the 37-year-old wrote.

According to reports by the Khmer Times, presiding judge Y Thavireak sentenced her to one year in prison and ordered her to pay a 250 dollar fine.

Kem Ley, a political analyst and founder of the rural-based Grassroots Political Party, was shot dead at a Phnom Penh coffee shop in July 2016 over an alleged debt.

However, many Cambodians believe his killing was politically motivated.

The sentence came amid a flurry of lawsuits against regular Cambodians and politicians criticising Hun Sen on the social media platform.

On Thursday, the Phnom Penh Municipal Court began the defamation trial against former opposition leader in exile, Sam Rainsy, over comments he made in a Facebook post in December.

Hun urged soldiers not to follow orders from dictators when instructed to “shoot innocent people.’’

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