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Rainsy claims ‘big victory’ on demarcation

OPPOSITION leader Sam Rainsy has proclaimed a “big victory” for Cambodia, citing court documents he says show the government shares his view that demarcation efforts along the Vietnamese border have been carried out illegally.

In a statement issued Wednesday, the Sam Rainsy Party president repeated his claim that six wooden demarcation posts in Svay Rieng province that he uprooted with local villagers in October – a move that landed him a two-year jail term – were placed inside Cambodian territory.

He added that despite official denials, government documents filed to Phnom Penh Municipal Court as part of its latest case against him acknowledged that the markers were actually “approximately” 516 meters from the legal border.

“The government and I have now reached the same conclusion regarding border delineation in Samrong commune in Svay Rieng province’s Chantrea district,” Sam Rainsy wrote.

The politician, who is currently in self-imposed exile in France, also called for the release of two Cambodian farmers who were jailed for a year
after October’s border incident.

Sam Rainsy is scheduled to appear in court on April 20 to answer to charges that he falsified public documents and spread misinformation in his bid to expose encroachments.

Tith Sothea, a member of the Council of Ministers’ Press Quick Reaction Unit, said Sam Rainsy’s claims lack substance, and that the government will not drop the charges facing him.

“I think the destruction of the border-demarcation markers was illegal and interrupted the speeding of the government’s work,” he said. “If he is a real democratic politician he has to appear in court to confront the government.”

Chuong Choungy, Sam Rainsy’s lawyer, said he would appear in court on his client’s behalf.

“I will request that the court set up the investigative committee comprised of border experts from the government and the SRP, as well as investigative judges that will be able to bring justice for my client,” he said.

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