9 July 2009
The case against Dam Sith, editor-in-chief of the " Moneaksekar Khmer" newspaper, has been dropped by order of Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, after the editor issued a letter of apology on 8 July 2009 to the premier and agreed to stop publication of his newspaper, media sources said.
"Khmer Sthapana" said Dam Sith was jailed in 2008 after he quoted in his newspaper a speech by opposition Sam Rainsy alleging that Foreign Minister Hor Namhong was a former Khmer Rouge leader. He was released as a result of international pressure and an apology he issued to the minister.
Despite his release, however, criminal charges against Dam Sith remained. The editor was charged of violating Articles 62 and 63 of the Cambodian Penal Code.
Both "Khmer Sthapana" and "Deum Ampil" quoted Dam Sith in his letter of apology to PM Hun Sen as saying, "I have nothing else to depend on to escape the court charges against me," hinting at the hopelessness of his case in Cambodian courts.
Both publications said political analysts in Phnom Penh predict that the editor will be forced to join the ruling party.
Not only media but civil society is also feeling the pressure in Cambodia. Human right groups have expressed concerns over a recent surge in legal actions against members of civil society and opposition activists.