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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Letters to the editor: I’ve never insulted Hun Sen’s family; Free publicity for the CNRP?

Letters to the editor: I’ve never insulted Hun Sen’s family; Free publicity for the CNRP?

I’ve never insulted Hun Sen’s family

Editor,
Your analysis titled Tactics and the nature of Hun Sen published in The Phnom Penh Post on March 10 largely attributes the prime minister’s recent harsh reactions to two comments attributed to me.

I stand by my first comment corresponding to what I said in an interview given to French newspaper Libération in July 2015: I do believe that Hun Sen, given his past as a long-time dictator, is deeply concerned by the issue of his succession, meaning the prospect of having to relinquish power one day with the inherent risk of losing impunity for his many past wrongdoings. Those wrongdoings – I would say crimes – would then be dangerously exposed and prosecuted in full if he were not able to start a political dynasty to protect himself and his family.

As for the chronologically speaking second comment attributed to me and related to an allegation about Hun Sen’s family, I would like on my part to close the controversy once and for all, because I personally have nothing to do with it. The prime minister has accused me, obviously for political reasons, of making the allegation after my relations with him started to deteriorate again following the above-mentioned interview in Libération nearly two years ago. But, to my eyes, this controversy risks tarnishing my reputation more than the prime minister’s because it put me in a position that totally contradicts the values of dignity that I have always sought to uphold in politics.

As a matter of fact, I have never been interested in, and have never paid any attention to, the private affairs of anybody or any family – and I have never mentioned that kind of story in any conversation at any meeting with anybody. This has not prevented Hun Sen from affirming that a former colleague of mine told him that he had heard me talking about the prime minister’s family at a nonspecified CNRP meeting. However, no consistent details of the meeting – when, where, what kind of meeting, who are the other witnesses? – have ever been provided, thus clearly indicating that the calumny against me is a pure invention only intended to attack the CNRP long before my resignation from its presidency.

In Hun Sen’s attempt to frame the CNRP, I am definitely victim of defamation. Cynically enough, Hun Sen has lodged many defamation lawsuits against me in order to kill me politically, assured that, with courts under his control, the filing of defamation proceedings in Cambodia is a one-way street and can only have one result: the elimination of the regime’s political opponents.

Sam Rainsy
Former president of the CNRP

Free publicity?
If I was in the CNRP I would be rubbing my hands at the amount of coverage their new slogan is getting.

For 21 years I’ve been active in politics in the UK, and we were always told, don’t mention the opposition, don’t put them in leaflets, don’t talk about them in the media. Yet here we are with the new CNRP slogan for the commune elections being talked about all over the media, mostly by the CPP.

If I were the CNRP I would be rubbing my hands for two reasons.

First, they could not buy the amount of media coverage they have been getting. Nearly every edition of the papers has a new story about the slogan. Mostly as a result of CPP legislators and commune chiefs talking about the slogan. Especially in government media where it has featured heavily.

Secondly, what impression does all this CPP outrage create? That the CNRP is being an effective opposition and holding the government to account.

Imagine the CPP had said nothing about the new slogan? I would not have heard about it and would not have the impression of how much it has upset the CPP.

In the words of John Lennon’s alter-ego Dr Winston O’Boogie: A conspiracy of silence speaks louder than a thousand words!

Andrew Tattersall, Phnom Penh

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