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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Sam Rainsy called to court over border spat

Sam Rainsy called to court over border spat

Opposition leader Sam Rainsy and a Sam Rainsy Party deputy commune chief have been summoned to appear at Svay Rieng provincial court for questioning in relation to the lawmaker’s uprooting of wooden markers near the province’s border with Vietnam on October 25.

A citation issued Wednesday by Judge Long Kesphyrom stated that Sam Rainsy was charged with racial incitement and the destruction of property.

“This person is accused of purposely destroying border marker 185 and inciting racial discrimination,” the citation read, ordering Sam Rainsy to appear at the court on December 28. “In case he does not appear as scheduled, we will issue a warrant for his arrest.”

The citation comes after comments from Prime Minister Hun Sen calling on Sam Rainsy, who is currently abroad, to return and face the charges.

“Please come back so you can go to jail. This time you cannot flee. Hun Sen has no reason to amnesty you,” the prime minister said, referring to the Royal pardon that allowed Sam Rainsy’s return from exile in 2006.

SRP spokesman Yim Sovann said Sam Rainsy was not afraid of facing jail because he had merely done his duty as a people’s representative.

“Everyone knows that the court is under the pressure of the ruling Cambodian People’s Party and is not independent,” he said, adding that Sam Rainsy would return “soon”.

Meanwhile, Pao Pheap, 40, the second deputy chief of Samrong commune, has been charged by the court with the same crimes in relation to the incident.

He has been summoned to appear in court on Tuesday.

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