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Appeal Court upholds Rainsy’s guilty verdict

CPP web administrator Som Soeun speaks to press outside the Appeal Court in Phnom Penh yesterday.
CPP web administrator Som Soeun speaks to press outside the Appeal Court in Phnom Penh yesterday. Touch Sokha

Appeal Court upholds Rainsy’s guilty verdict

The Appeal Court yesterday upheld a defamation conviction against opposition leader Sam Rainsy for accusing a Cambodian People’s Party official of ordering members to artificially boost Prime Minister Hun Sen’s Facebook “likes”.

Presiding judge in the case Sam Rith Sophal ruled to uphold the November decision delivered by the Phnom Penh Municipal Court, which ruled in favour of CPP official Som Soeun.

Sam Sokong, Rainsy’s attorney, yesterday pledged to appeal the decision at the Supreme Court.

“What we want to see is the court judge this case independently, regardless of any political motivation,” he said.

Rainsy had accused Som Soeun, a CPP official attached to the prime minister, of ordering CPP members and state employees to create “fake accounts” to like the premier in a Facebook post on March 9 last year.

He also accused the CPP of buying “likes” from “click farms”, often in developing countries, which employ people to create fake accounts to bolster the popularity of social media accounts.

The CNRP president’s accusation followed revelations by The Post that more than half of the premier’s likes in a three-month period had originated abroad, which raised questions as to their legitimacy.

Outside the hearing room yesterday, Soeun said he was pleased with the outcome. “Today I am happy, because the Appeal Court gives me justice as a plaintiff who sued Sam Rainsy for using my name to attack [Hun Sen’s] page,” he said.

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