Phnom Penh Municipal court on Monday heard two cases against Sam Rainsy, “acting president” of the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), on charges of inciting the military and insulting King Norodom Sihamoni.
The verdicts are expected to be announced next Thursday.
Rainsy was charged with “inciting military personnel to disobedience” and “demoralising the army” for an appeal to the military he made on Facebook on December 9, 2017.
“Please all armed forces, soldiers and police, don’t follow the orders of the dictator [Hun Sen] if he orders [you] to shoot at and kill innocent people,” he said.
He was also charged with “insulting the King” for a Facebook post in June in which he alleged that a letter released by the King appealing to people to vote in last year’s national elections was “a forgery” made under duress.
‘He demoralised the army’
Vong Pheakdey, a lawyer representing the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF), told The Post on Monday that Rainsy had defamed the legitimate government and the commanders of the military.
He said Rainsy had incited the army to go against its leadership and the government, and he had also demoralised the army. All of this had affected national security, Pheakdey said.
He added Rainsy had continued his actions on Facebook even after a complaint was filed against him by the RCAF.
Pheakdey said Rainsy’s lawyer Sam Sokong had not submitted any defence documents to the court.
“This is an acceptance that he committed [wrongdoing] as charged. I request the judge to hand down a heavy sentence against Sam Rainsy – to the maximum allowed,” he said.
Rainsy’s defence lawyer Sokong said he had requested the judge drop the charges filed by the military.
“The evidence submitted to the court was not acceptable because we suspect it was edited. Secondly, in the video clip, Sam Rainsy did not incite the army. He only urged the army not to use violence against people who protest because the army are sons of the people,” he said.
He said the definition of articles 471 and 472 of the Criminal Code under which Rainsy was charged only applied when the country is at war and someone calls on the army to put down their weapons.
Sokong said he did not defend the “insulting the king” charge, but Judge Ros Piseth would deliver the verdicts in both cases next Thursday.