The Appeal Court says it will ask the Cambodian Bar Association to appoint a lawyer for exiled opposition leader Sam Rainsy, who has declined to appoint one himself ahead of his appeal against a conviction for disinformation and falsifying public documents last year.
The conviction came in connection with the attempts of Sam Rainsy, who currently lives abroad, to vindicate his claims of Vietnamese encroachment on Cambodian territory. He received a 10-year jail term.
The Appeal Court convened a hearing in the case last month, though Sam Rainsy gave no instructions to his lawyer, Choung Choungy, to defend him.
“For me, as a lawyer, if someone does not ask me to defend them, I would not defend them because it would affect my reputation,” Choung Choungy said yesterday.
Appeal Court deputy prosecutor Nget Sarath said yesterday that once a lawyer was appointed to defend Sam Rainsy and given time to study the case, the court could reschedule a hearing.
Government lawyer Ky Tech said Sam Rainsy’s decision not to appoint a lawyer himself “means that he has the intention to block the process of the court”.