Search

Search form

Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - State slams EU over Sam Rainsy

State slams EU over Sam Rainsy

State slams EU over Sam Rainsy

The government has rejected a resolution approved last week by the European Parliament criticising the recent prosecution of opposition leader Sam Rainsy and commenting on a “worrying authoritarian trend” in Cambodian politics.

The resolution, passed Thursday, called on the Cambodian authorities to resolve their dispute with the Sam Rainsy Party president “through political dialogue and to enable [him] to resume his parliamentary activities as rapidly as possible”.

Sam Rainsy has been sentenced to a total of 12 years in jail on a series of charges relating to his campaign to expose alleged Vietnamese incursions into Cambodia.

If Sam Rainsy’s two convictions are upheld, the EP’s resolution stated, he would be barred from standing in the 2013 national elections, a prospect that left the European MPs “particularly alarmed”.

Tith Sothea, a spokesman for the Council of Ministers’ Press and Quick Reaction Unit, dismissed the resolution, saying Sam Rainsy had made a “mistake” by uprooting border markers in Svay Rieng province last year, the action that led to his initial conviction in January.

“The case of Mr Sam Rainsy is a personal mistake and one made with a political motivation,” Tith Sothea said.

“It is under the jurisdiction of the courts.”

Government spokesman Khieu Kanharith added that Europe should not “give a lesson to Cambodia” and should focus on its own problems.

Sam Rainsy Party spokesman Yim Sovann welcomed the EP resolution, calling on the government to consider how Sam Rainsy’s cases might create problems down the road.

“Justice always beats injustice,” he said. “The government which uses the courts as a tool to silence the opposition party’s popularity should consider this issue.” ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY AFP


RECOMMENDED STORIES

  • Breaking: PM says prominent human rights NGO ‘must close’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has instructed the Interior Ministry to investigate the Cambodian Center for Human Rights (CCHR) and potentially close it “because they follow foreigners”, appearing to link the rights group to the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party's purported “revolution”. The CNRP - the

  • PM warns party of complacency in leaked audio

    Two leaked audio tapes, purportedly of Prime Minister Hun Sen speaking candidly to senior officials, appear to hint at insecurities within the ruling party over the controversial dissolution of the country’s main opposition, with the premier warning that the party’s “struggle” didn’t

  • Government approves plan to relocate Phnom Penh’s airport

    The government has signed off on a proposal to build a new airport to serve Phnom Penh and has earmarked land in Kandal province for the $1.5 billion project. A new international airport to replace the existing Phnom Penh International Airport will be constructed on partially

  • Music festival promises big stage, has even bigger hopes

    With a line-up of local and international artists, and a massive outdoor venue booked on Koh Pich, or Diamond Island, Saturday’s Diamond Moon Festival is aiming to showcase contemporary musical and artistic talents at a scale rarely seen in the Kingdom. [img] But the