Unpacking the dangers of Cambodia’s proposed lèse majesté law

THE Cambodian government on Friday approved a legal amendment that will see insults to the monarchy punishable by up to five years in prison. The new lèse majesté law will head to the National Assembly this week, where it will almost certainly be ratified given the ruling party’s dominance. Phay Siphan, a government spokesman, said offenders could receive a fine of more than US$15,000 in total, adding that the amendment was made in response to “the rise of attackers affecting our entire monarchy.” The crematorium site for Cambodia’s former King Norodom Sihanouk is seen at dusk in Phnom Penh. Feb. 4, 2013. Source: AP The new rules are already drawing comparisons with neighbouring Thailand, which has some of the world’s strictest lèse majesté laws, with sentences of up to 15 years for each offence of royal insult. Supporters of the amendment are saying it will “uphold and protect the reputation...


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