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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Sam Rainsy to appear in France over defamation

Sam Rainsy to appear in France over defamation

OPPOSITION leader Sam Rainsy has been ordered to appear before a French appeals court in October in connection with a defamation and disinformation lawsuit filed against him by Foreign Affairs Minister Hor Namhong, a Sam Rainsy Party spokesman told the Post Tuesday.

Yim Sovann said Sam Rainsy had been sent a summons asking him to appear before the court on October 8, adding that the opposition leader, who is currently in France, planned to comply.

"He has collected more evidence for challenging the case," Yim Sovann said.

Hor Namhong filed the lawsuit against Sam Rainsy following the May 2008 publication of his autobiography Rooted In Stone, in which the opposition leader accused the minister of heading the Boeung Trabek "re-education camp", where diplomats and government officials from the Lon Nol and Norodom Sihanouk regimes were incarcerated by the Khmer Rouge.

A French court on January 27 ordered Sam Rainsy to pay a symbolic €1 (US$1.43) fine to Hor Namhong.

The Tribunal Correctionnel in Paris also ordered Sam Rainsy's publisher, Calmann-Levy, to remove from any reprinted copies a passage calling Hor Namhong a "collaborator ... suspected of causing the death of several people".

Yim Sovann expressed optimism that the appeals court would rule differently.

Koy Kuong, spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, declined to comment on the case, calling it the minister's personal matter.

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