Equitable Cambodia Defamation Convictions ReviewedPublished on December 22, 2017
This morning the Appeal Court considered the conviction of three Equitable Cambodia (EC) managers – Chheang Phea, Eang Vuthy and Phen Kimsong – on criminal defamation charges brought by Chan Vichet, a former employee, related to an internal written staff warning.
Neither Vichet nor his lawyers were present at the court which meant cross-examination was not possible. The Appeal Court prosecutor echoed the unusual remark made by the Municipal Court prosecutor in 2016 that there was no evidence of any intentional wrongdoing by the EC managers.
Vichet claimed that he was unfairly dismissed from the land rights NGO in 2015 and that private information regarding the dismissal was revealed by management.
The warning was issued privately after a staff evaluation. Cambodia’s Criminal Code (Article 305) defines defamation as an “allegation or charge” made in bad faith which is stated or circulated publicly, harming a person’s reputation. Nonetheless, the three were convicted by Phnom Penh Municipal Court on 22 August 2016 and ordered to pay fines and damages.
The Appeal Court verdict will be announced at 8am on 12 January 2018.