5/15/2018

*CAMBODIA'S NEW ROYAL INSULT LAW*

Cambodia's King: Norodom Sihamoni

PHNOM PENH : A 50-year-old teacher has been arrested in Cambodia for allegedly insulting the monarchy in a -

Comment posted on Facebook, police said on Sunday - The first such arrest since the country adopted a royal insult law earlier this year.

Cambodia's parliament unanimously adopted a law in February, that forbids insulting the monarchy.

Rights groups expressed concern that such legislation, already in effect in neighbouring Thailand, could be used against the critics of the government.

Police in the province of Kampong Thom arrested Kheang Navy, a primary school principal, over comments he made that were allegedly critical of King Nordom Sihamoni, his father, late King Nordom Sihanouk, and-

His half-brother Prince Norodom Ranariddh over their alleged role in the dissolution of the main opposition Cambodia Nationalist Rescue Party.

Cambodia's lese-majeste law stipulates that a prosecutor can file a criminal suit on behalf of the monarchy against anyone deemed to be insulting the royal family.

Those found guilty would  face between one and five years in prison and a fine of Between $500 and $2,500.

King Norodom Sihamoni is officially Cambodia's head of state, but long serving Prime Minister Hun Sen has ruled for 33 years.

The crackdown comes ahead of a July 29 general election in which Hun Sen will be largely  unchallenged.

In Thailand, Lese majeste cases have increased since the military took control following a 2014 coup.

The junta  has vowed to use harsh measures against perceived critics of the country's royal family.

Thailand has some of the world's toughest   lese-majeste laws. Those found guilty face up to 15 years in prison for each offence.[Reuters]

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