OPPOSITION leader Sam Rainsy has been summoned to appear at Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Tuesday in relation to two criminal charges recently filed against him, according to a court citation obtained by the Post Wednesday.
The summons, issued on Monday by deputy prosecutor Sok Roeun, orders the Sam Rainsy Party president , who is in self-exile in France, to appear at 8:30am to answer to charges of disinformation and falsifying public documents after producing maps he said were evidence of Vietnamese territorial incursions.
When contacted on Wednesday, government lawyer Ky Tech, who filed the complaint against Sam Rainsy on Friday, did not comment in detail about the case, but said that he appeared in court on Tuesday to provide additional information about the charges.
SRP spokesman Kimsour Phirith criticised the release of the court summons, saying that the judicial system appeared to work especially hard to push through cases filed against government critics.
“It is normal that the court issues citations, it conforms to the procedure of the court. But it seems strange because it was so fast: When the complaint was filed, the citation was issued right away as well,” he said.
Kimsour Phirith said that Sam Rainsy likely will not appear in court on Tuesday, and that he will be represented by his attorney, Choung Chou Ngy.
Sam Rainsy faces arrest if he tries to return to Cambodia following a January 27 trial at Svay Rieng provincial court in which he was sentenced to two years in prison for his role in uprooting temporary demarcation posts on the Vietnamese border. Villagers in Svay Rieng’s Chantrea district say the posts were placed in their rice fields by Vietnamese officials.
However, Choung Chou Ngy said that he has not yet been formally appointed as Sam Rainsy’s lawyer in the new case, and that he has not decided whether he will take up the job defending the opposition leader this time around.
“I have not decided whether I will agree to receive this case or not,” he said.