Thinley Namgay    

Legal representatives of the police submitted their charges against Penjore in the first hearing of the defamation case at Thimphu Dzongkhag Court’s Criminal Bench II yesterday.

The police stated that Penjore accused the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) of not charging the Bhutan National Bank (BNB) officials in question, despite their official misconduct during staff recruitment.

The police have also quoted some parts of Penjore’s May 4 post: “Shocking Bigger Crime at the Bhutan’s OAG level- A guilty Secret Cheating Case through Collusion- A National Shame.”

“DANGEROUS and greater corruption happening in the OAG. Bhutan completely into NoW converting Bhutan as a complete lawless county in the eyes of the World. Monstrous Wrongdoing of OAG is not corrected immediately,” the police quoted directly from Penjore’s post in their appeal letter.

The police said that Penjore’s post claimed and spread misinformation, and it has gone viral. “People have defamed the OAG on social media. There is possibility that people will not trust the OAG. The reputation of the OAG was affected.”

Police said that the defendant should pay compensation to the OAG based on the national wage rate, ranging from a minimum a year to a maximum of three years.

Defamation is a petty misdemeanour offence and carries a minimum prison term of one month and a maximum of less than a year. The prison term is compoundable.

The court ordered Penjore to submit his rebuttal on December 13.

Thimphu Dzongkhag Court’s chief judge conducted a miscellaneous hearing for the police’s defamation case on November 9, and the case has been assigned to the court’s Bench II.

The media was not allowed in during the miscellaneous hearing. However, the court allowed the media to attend the hearing.

The police arrested and detained Penjore in May for 16 days before the OAG charged him for sedition. The dzongkhag court dismissed the OAG’s sedition case against Penjore on June 18 this year.