Critic of Cambodian leader defiant in defamation trial

A political analyst in Cambodia who faces up to two years in prison and a penalty of half a million dollars in a defamation case brought by Prime Minister Hun Sen has taken a defiant stance in court, demanding that the leader confront him in person.

Kim Sok was arrested in February after giving an interview to U.S.-funded Radio Free Asia that Hun Sen felt implied his government was behind the killing last year of another political analyst and critic of the government, Kem Ley.

The Phnom Penh Municipal Court, at its first hearing in the case on Wednesday, denied Kim Sok's demand that Hun Sen appear.

Rights groups accuse Hun Sen's government of using the courts to harass its critics.