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Worker for Maryknoll arrested in Cambodia

Former student accused of insulting government politician

Worker for Maryknoll arrested in Cambodia
The ancient Angkor Wat complex, a Cambodian icon reporter, Phnom Penh

February 1, 2011

A worker with the Maryknoll mission in Cambodia has been arrested for allegedly distributing defamatory leaflets against a “Cambodian government politician.”

So Khemrak, a former Royal University of Phnom Penh student, was arrested on Jan. 29, as a result of confessions made by four other people arrested earlier for the same offence in Takeo in southern Cambodia, according to the Khmer-language Rasmei Kampuchea, the country’s most popular daily.

Khemrak denied distributing the leaflets, saying he only overheard one of the other four talking about them.

Another person arrested with Khemrak - Ngo Meng Hong – also denied distributing the leaflets but admits he has had some in his possession since 2008.

Police found more than 200 leaflets in Hong’s home, the paper reported. Some 85 leaflets were distributed around Phnom Penh last week.

Op Siphal, a Maryknoll office manager, admitted Khemrak is one of 172 workers for the local Maryknoll mission but denied the Church institution had anything to do with his spare time activities.

Khemrak works for Karol and Setha, (Knowledge and Reflection on Life and Sexuality Through a Holistic Approach), a Maryknoll program, he said.

“We just provide a job for him. We don’t know about his activities outside the office,” Siphal told

If found guilty Khemrak could face up to two years in jail and be fined 1.4 million riel (about US$345).

The US-based Maryknoll family consists of Fathers and Brothers, Sisters and lay workers dedicated to mission and social work outside the United States.

Related report
Cambodian NGOs fear law will tie their hands

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