THE opposition Sam Rainsy Party has been collecting thumbprints for a petition calling on King Norodom Sihamoni and the National Assembly to urge the dropping of a criminal complaint against Sam Rainsy, who faces charges of destroying public property and racial incitement in connection with an October border protest in Svay Rieng province, SRP lawmaker Ho Vann said Thursday.
Ho Vann said the petition had more than 200,000 thumbprints, and that it would also be sent to King Father Norodom Sihanouk. He said he did not know when the petition would be finalised.
This is not a request for amnesty because sam rainsy has not been found guilty yet.
King Norodom Sihamoni has the formal authority to grant pardons, though Ho Vann stressed that the petition was not a pardon request.
“This is not a request for amnesty because Sam Rainsy has not been found guilty yet,” he said.
Prime Minister Hun Sen said Tuesday that he would not ask the King to pardon Sam Rainsy if the Svay Rieng provincial court were to hand down a guilty verdict in his upcoming criminal trial.
The charges against Sam Rainsy stem from an October 25 incident in which he joined villagers in uprooting six wooden border markers in Svay Rieng close to the border with Vietnam, which they said were planted in their rice fields by Vietnamese authorities.
Senior Cambodian People’s Party lawmaker Cheam Yeap on Thursday dismissed the petition as irrelevant, saying that any decision to drop the criminal complaint would need to be made by the provincial court.
“If the court doesn’t agree to this, then the complaint will continue,” he said. “The National Assembly would not think to intervene because it is up to the court.”