If found guilty, Sam Rainsy could be sentenced up to 18 years in prison: Ky Tech about Hun Xen's travesty of justice

Friday, February 26, 2010

(Photo: The Phnom Penh Post)

Cambodia's opposition leader faces new lawsuit

Friday, February 26, 2010

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia – Prime Minister Hun Sen's government filed a lawsuit Friday against opposition leader Sam Rainsy that accuses him of spreading false information about a border dispute with Vietnam.

The lawsuit was based on several comments made by Sam Rainsy, who questioned whether Cambodia's border with Vietnam had been incorrectly marked by the government to Cambodia's advantage.

Earlier this week, Hun Sen described Sam Rainsy's comments as treacherous because Cambodia already has a volatile border dispute with Thailand on its northern and western frontiers, so causing trouble with Vietnam could open up a potential second area of confrontation.

The government's lawyer, Ky Tech, filed the lawsuit at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court. It accuses Sam Rainsy of spreading false information verbally, which carries a prison term of up to three years, and in public documents on Web sites _ which carries a sentence of up to 15 years.

If found guilty, Sam Rainsy could be sentenced up to 18 years in prison, Ky Tech said.

Sam Rainsy is living in exile in Paris and was sentenced in absentia by a Cambodian court last month to two years' imprisonment for a political protest in which border markers on the frontier with Vietnam were uprooted.

The Sam Rainsy Party is the sole opposition party in parliament and Sam Rainsy is a fierce, longtime critic of Hun Sen. His previous tangles with the government have seen him go into self-imposed exile.

Hun Sen was installed after a Vietnamese invasion that ousted the genocidal Khmer Rouge regime in 1979. He is sympathetic with Hanoi, while Sam Rainsy bases part of his political appeal on pandering to traditional anti-Vietnamese sentiment common among Cambodians who don't trust their much larger neighbor.


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