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Rainsy drops court appeal

Opposition leader Sam Rainsy during a meeting with famous Myanmar comedian Zarganar in Yangon on Monday. Photograph: AFP

Opposition party leader Sam Rainsy has ordered his lawyer to drop a long-standing appeal against his conviction for defaming Foreign Minister Hor Namhong, saying he does not wish to waste any more time with the Cambodian court.

In 2011, the Phnom Penh Municipal Court sentenced Rainsy in absentia to two years’ jail for defamation and inciting discrimination for claiming Namhong was head of the notorious Khmer Rouge prison at Boeung Trabek.

Speaking from Thailand, Rainsy — who lives in self-imposed exile in France to avoid a raft of criminal convictions many believe to be politically motivated — told the Post he preferred to focus his energies on the upcoming election.  

“I do not have confidence in the court at all,” he said, pointing out that a French court had already ruled in his favour.

In addition to the Cambod-ian lawsuit, Namhong filed a complaint against Rainsy in France, where he had published an autobiography in which he accused the foreign minister of having colluded with the Khmer Rouge.

Although Namhong init-ially won that case, France’s highest court later ruled in favour of Rainsy.

Kar Savuth, a lawyer for Namhong, said that despite Rainsy’s claims to the contrary, his withdrawal of the case meant “Sam Rainsy recognised the verdict of the Phnom Penh court.”



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