Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Rainsy faces up to five years in prison for insulting King

Rainsy faces up to five years in prison for insulting King

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Sam Rainsy, the former president of the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP). Hong Menea

Rainsy faces up to five years in prison for insulting King

The Phnom Penh Municipal Court on December 28 charged former opposition leader Sam Rainsy with insulting the King under Article 437 of the Criminal Code.

Rainsy – the former president of the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) – faces between one and five years in prison and a fine of between two and 10 million riel ($500 and $2,500) if found guilty, according to court spokesman Kuch Kimlong.

Kimlong said Rainsy posted a message on Facebook on December 20 wherein he flagrantly insulted King Norodom Sihamoni.

He added that municipal court deputy prosecutor Seng Heang decided to charge Rainsy with insulting the King following an investigation into the matter.

On December 25, Minister of Justice Koeut Rith issued a letter to municipal court prosecutor Chreng Khmao, instructing him to take urgent and serious action against Rainsy for the crime of insulting the King.

Kin Phea, director of the Royal Academy of Cambodia’s International Relations Institute, said the charge against Rainsy meets the definition of a flagrant crime under the Criminal Code.

“The charge is in agreement with the facts of the case and the application of the law. If we consider the potential punishment Sam Rainsy would be facing along with his current age, we can’t say for sure whether he’d complete the sentence or how many years he’d serve. At his age, he may never make it out,” said Phea.

Former opposition lawmaker Ou Chanrath said on December 28 that Rainsy may have insulted the King out of frustration over not being able to return to Cambodia.

“I think Sam Rainsy maybe thinks that he will never be able to return to Cambodia, so he finally decided “whatever” basically and he doesn’t care what happens,” he said.

Chanrath added that Rainsy had “dared to insult [the king] fully understanding that it was against the law and maybe it meant that he had already decided he couldn’t ever return.”

“I think that if they want to negotiate a political solution, then each politician should engage in behaviour that is consistent with that goal [instead of engaging in conflict]. Political disagreements are inevitable in any country,” Chanrath added.

Political analyst Lao Mong Hay said Cambodian politicians should deal with the issues and not engage in “personality assassination”.

“Despite my opposition to the ‘lese majeste law’, and despite my public appeal to the King not to sign off on that law, and despite my having great admiration for Sam Rainsy – I cannot condone name calling addressed to our King, not by him or by anybody else.

“A sensible person would not oppose the present legal action against Sam Rainsy for it,” he said.


  • Prince Norodom Ranariddh passes away at 77

    Prince Norodom Ranariddh, the second son of the late King Father Norodom Sihanouk and former First Prime Minister of Cambodia, has passed away in France at the age of 77. “Samdech Krom Preah Norodom Ranariddh has passed away this morning in France just after 9am Paris-time,”

  • Cambodia purchases 4 million Molnupiravir tablets

    Cambodia has arranged for the purchase of four million US-made Molnupiravir pills – enough to treat 100,000 Covid-19 patients – even though the current rate of daily infections in Cambodia remains low. The medicine will be distributed to state hospitals, pharmacies and private clinics, according to the Samdech

  • No more Africa travel ban but new rules for arrivals

    The Ministry of Health has decided to lift the ban on travellers from or who have travelled through 10 African countries and instead issued a set of standard operating procedures to manage passenger arrivals at Cambodia’s international airports. The 10 African countries are Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho,

  • Rise in planned flights lifts travel hopes

    Six airlines have applied to resume flights in December, while two others have put in for additional flights and routes, according to State Secretariat of Civil Aviation (SSCA) head Mao Havannall on November 29. These account for 43 new weekly domestic and international flights in December, up 16

  • Is Cambodia’s travel sector in for another cheerless holiday season?

    The travel and tourism sector was heaving back to life as borders started to reopen, promising a festive vibe for the holidays and New Year. But Omicron and other Covid-related issues are threatening to close the year on a bleak note ‘Seems [like] Covid-19 won’

  • PM blasts Vietnam general over Covid claims

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on December 6 expressed dismay after Vietnamese general Hoang Xuan Chien, formerly in charge of Vietnam’s border defences, claimed that Cambodia was a source of Covid-19 transmissions to the country. Speaking at the opening ceremony for National Road 11 connecting Prey Veng