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2 years since arrest, Cambodian journalists await spying verdict

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2 years since arrest, Cambodian journalists await spying verdict

 Two years since two Cambodian former Radio Free Asia (RFA) journalists were arrested on widely criticized espionage charges, their lawyer on Thursday said the pair were still awaiting a verdict.


Uon Chhin and Yeang Sothearin, who worked for the U.S funded news outlet which operates in countries with limited press freedoms, were arrested on Nov. 14, 2017.

Their arrests were part of a wider government crackdown on political opposition, independent media outlets and government critics.

They were charged with supplying a foreign state with information prejudicial to Cambodia’s national defense, which is punishable by up to 15 years in prison.

Both have said they filed news reports after RFA closed its Phnom Penh bureau, which the outlet said was due to government pressure.

The men were released on bail after nine months in jail.

Attorney Sam Chamroeun told dpa that his clients were waiting for the Appeal Court to set a trial date after a lower court in October was expected to announce a verdict, but instead ruled to reinvestigate the case.

Cambodia’s courts have long been seen as being under the influence of the ruling party.

The South-East Asian nation was ranked 143rd out of 180 countries in Reporters without Borders’ 2019 World Press Freedom Index, down a place from 2018.

HS/MZA

Edited by Halima Sheji/Maharazu Ahmed

Sheji Halima: is a graduate and a professionally trained journalist, with experience in national news reporting/editing and verification at the News Agency of Nigeria. NNN is a Nigerian online news portal that publishes breaking news in Nigeria, and across the world. Our journalists are honest, fair, accurate, thorough and courageous in gathering, reporting and interpreting news in the best interest of the public, because truth is the cornerstone of journalism and they strive diligently to ascertain the truth in every news report. Contact: editor[at]nnn.com.ng

Foreign

Cambodian PM says economy to shrink 1.9 pct this year due to COVID-19 impact

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Cambodia’s economy is predicted to shrink 1.9 percent this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Prime Minister Samdech Techo Hun Sen has said.


“Cambodia’s economy in 2020 is expected to contract by 1.9 percent, which is the slowest ever growth,” he said in a circular on budget planning for 2021-2023, according to local report reports.

He said due to the pandemic, the Southeast Asian country has experienced a huge decline in demand from its trading partners.

The kingdom’s growth heavily relies on garment and footwear exports, tourism, construction and real estate, and agriculture, and due to the pandemic, garment and footwear exports and tourism have been hit the hardest.

However, Hun Sen is optimistic that the country’s economy will bounce back to 3.5 percent in 2021 thanks to the gradual recovery of global economy and external demand.

He said inflation is predicted to be at a manageable level of 2.8 percent this year and slightly up to 3.1 percent next year due to the projected rise in an international oil price.

The World Bank said in its latest report late last month that Cambodia’s economy is likely to shrink between 1 percent and 2.9 percent this year, which is the slowest growth since 1994.

It said the pandemic will put at risk 1.76 million Cambodian jobs from losses in tourism, manufacturing and construction, which together account for more than 70 percent of growth and almost 40 percent of employment.

Cambodia has so far confirmed a total of 126 cases of COVID-19, with 125 patients cured and one remained hospitalized, according to the Ministry of Health.

(XINHUA)

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Cambodian PM holds phone conservation with Indian counterpart to discuss COVID-19 pandemic, ties

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Cambodian Prime Minister Samdech Techo Hun Sen held a telephone conversation with his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi on Wednesday evening, discussing the COVID-19 pandemic and bilateral ties, said a foreign ministry’s press statement on Thursday.


“The two leaders concurred that the process toward post COVID-19 socio-economic recovery would require greater international cooperation and coordination more than ever before,” the statement said.

Hun Sen commended the Indian government’s efforts in fighting the COVID-19 and also extended his deep condolences for the loss of many Indian lives to this disease, it said.

For his part, Modi praised the Cambodian government for achieving effective control of the COVID-19 outbreak, it added.

The two prime ministers also thanked each other for the attention and facilities provided to enable the repatriation of their respective nationals stranded in both countries.

According to the statement, a chartered flight will bring 60 Cambodian nationals, including some students from India to Cambodia on Friday, while about 280 Indian nationals will return home within days, and some of them already left Phnom Penh on Thursday, as the rest will depart from Cambodia on June 19.

The two leaders also vowed to further deepen bilateral cooperation and expressed commitment to further strengthening regional cooperation, including in the ASEAN-India framework.

(XINHUA)

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Cambodian court charges provincial anti-drug bureau chief with drug trafficking

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A Cambodian court on Tuesday charged a provincial military police’s anti-drug bureau chief with possessing and trafficking drugs and owning weapons illegally, a court’s spokesman said on Wednesday.


Chhun Somethea, chief of the southern Takeo provincial military police’s anti-drug bureau, and his apparent lover were arrested on Thursday at a petrol station in Takeo province.

The officers later found 2kg of methamphetamines in their car, and a further search of the military police officer’s home uncovered another 8kg of marijuana and two guns.

“The military police officer was charged with three counts: possessing and trafficking illicit drugs and owning weapons illegally, while the woman was charged with trafficking drugs,’’ Kuch Kimlong, a spokesman for the Phnom Penh Municipal Court, told Xinhua.

According to an Interior Ministry’s anti-drug department report, the Southeast Asian country has seen a remarkable rise in drug arrests during the first five months of this year.

“The authorities had arrested 8,864 drug-related suspects in 4,490 cases during the January to May period this year, up 28 per cent and 37 per cent, respectively compared to the same period last year,’’ the report said.

It added that 259kg of illicit drugs, 225kg of dry marijuana and 180,490 marijuana plants had been confiscated from those suspects during the first five months of this year.

Cambodia has no death sentence for drug traffickers, but under its law, someone found guilty of trafficking over 80g of illicit drugs could be jailed for life.


Edited By: Abiodun Oluleye (NAN)

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Cambodian court charges provincial anti-drug bureau chief with drug trafficking

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A Cambodian court on Tuesday charged a provincial military police’s anti-drug bureau chief with possessing and trafficking drugs and owning weapons illegally, according to a court’s spokesman on Wednesday.


Chhun Somethea, chief of the southern Takeo provincial military police’s anti-drug bureau, and his apparent lover were arrested on Thursday at a petrol station in Takeo province after officers found 2 kilograms of methamphetamines in their car, and a further search of the military police officer’s home uncovered another 8 kilograms of marijuana and two guns.

“The military police officer was charged with three counts: possessing and trafficking illicit drugs and owning weapons illegally, while the woman was charged with trafficking drugs,” Kuch Kimlong, a spokesman for the Phnom Penh Municipal Court, told Xinhua.

The Southeast Asian country has seen a remarkable rise in drug arrests during the first five months of this year, according to an Interior Ministry’s anti-drug department report.

The authorities had arrested 8,864 drug-related suspects in 4,490 cases during the January-May period this year, up 28 percent and 37 percent, respectively compared to the same period last year, the report said.

It added that 259 kilograms of illicit drugs, 225 kilograms of dry marijuana and 180,490 marijuana plants had been confiscated from those suspects during the first five months of this year.

Cambodia has no death sentence for drug traffickers. Under its law, someone found guilty of trafficking more than 80 grams of illicit drugs could be jailed for life.

(XINHUA)

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