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Former opposition leader Sam Rainsy.
Former opposition leader Sam Rainsy. Pha Lina

Rainsy has ‘no interest’ in ongoing court cases

Exiled politician Sam Rainsy says he no longer has “any interest” in contesting a suite of legal cases brought against him by government officials, with his lawyer yesterday skipping a court appearance related to the prime minister’s defamation suit against him.

Rainsy, who on Saturday quit as Cambodia National Rescue Party president and left the party, was summonsed to appear yesterday for questioning over the premier’s $1 million defamation case for comments suggesting he paid social media activist Thy Sovantha the same amount to attack the opposition. Handling another case, his Cambodia-based lawyer Sam Sokong did not turn up.

From France, where he has lived since 2015 to avoid prison in a case widely considered politically motivated, Rainsy said fighting in Cambodia’s “kangaroo courts” was “useless”.

“They don’t deliver justice according to the law, they work according to politics,” Rainsy said on the phone, adding a political solution was the only approach to the slew of cases, among which are two convictions carrying seven years of prison time.

Reached yesterday, Sokong said he wasn’t sure whether the CNRP would continue funding Rainsy’s legal defence now that he had stepped down, though maintained he would see the case through and soon submit further evidence, including leaked purported online chats between Sovantha and the premier, which were the basis of his client’s accusation.

Court spokesman and prosecutor in the case Ly Sophana said the action would continue, regardless of the absence of the defendant or his lawyer.

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