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CNRP leader Sam Rainsy talks to the media in Phnom Penh last year.
CNRP leader Sam Rainsy talks to the media in Phnom Penh last year. Pha Lina

Rainsy set to appeal defamation conviction

Self-exiled opposition leader Sam Rainsy will today appeal a guilty verdict and hefty fine handed down in a defamation case brought by National Assembly President Heng Samrin, according to Rainsy’s lawyer Sam Sokong.

On Thursday, Rainsy was found guilty of defamation in a case stemming from a November Facebook post and video in which he said the regime that succeeded the Khmer Rouge in 1979 had sentenced the late King Norodom Sihanouk to death on charges of treason.

Sokong said Rainsy – despite not sending a lawyer to defend his case – were dissatisfied with the verdict. “The Appeal Court will consider strictly about the facts and provide justice to my client,” he said.

Samrin’s lawyer, Ky Tech, refused to comment yesterday, but on Thursday he, too, vowed to appeal, claiming the fine should be doubled to 300 million riel (about $73,000).

Rainsy could not be reached yesterday but in a statement last week said he never named Samrin in the post. “They really wanted to eliminate/kill Norodom Sihanouk, at least from a moral and political point of view,” he wrote.

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