A university student has been jailed for an anti-government Facebook post in Cambodia. He has been confined in prison for 18 months. He asked people to join his “colour revolution” and “change the vulgar regime”.
24-year-old Kong Raya is the first in Cambodia to use a social networking site to attack Prime Minister Hun Sen’s government. On his facebook page, he stated that he was willing to go to jail or die for his cause. How he would do so was not clear from his statement. The sad thing is, he garnered no public support for his cause. Kong Raya was charged last August. He was convicted by Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Tuesday.
Kong Raya while being taken away from the courtroom, told reporters, “There’s nothing to be surprised about. This is how the court works.”
He denounced the judge’s decision and said that he would appeal, reported The Asian Age. Raya stated, “It is not only unjust for me, but also for all Cambodian people.”
The Prime Minister had said that he was open to constructive criticism. However, at the same time, he warned that online critics, especially those who insult him, can easily be traced and arrested.
Prime Minister Hun Sen has started using Facebook from last year September. He is an avid user of the social networking site, reported Bangkok Post. He encourages people from the country to share their problems through the social media site and also has taken credit for solving them.
Reportedly, the Prime Minister launched a new mobile app and a website in a bid to engage people, particularly young voters in Cambodia.
An activist with Cambodian rights group Licadho, Am Sam Ath said that Kong Raya’s post was harmless. It did not create any turmoil or damage to society. He added that the verdict was a message or threat to other youth of the society, who dare to express their opinion.
Am Sam said, “It is a threat to those who want to make their voice heard… It makes it harder for the youth and students to express their opinions.”
China is another Asian country which is criticised by 12 countries for its deteriorating human rights, recently. The country arrested 250 lawyers and activists in 2015.