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Rainsy given court date over military disobedience charges

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Sam Rainsy talked to the medias in 2015. Post staff

Rainsy given court date over military disobedience charges

The Phnom Penh Municipal Court has set April 22 as the date for “acting president” of the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) Sam Rainsy to appear for a public hearing on charges of inciting the military to disobey Prime Minister Hun Sen.

The summons by court prosecutor Plang Sophal, received by The Post on Thursday, states that Judge Ros Piseth will lead the April 22 public hearing.

Rainsy was charged with “inciting military personnel to disobedience” and “the demoralisation of the army” under articles 471 and 472 of the Criminal Code.

The charges carry a maximum prison term of five years and a fine of up to 10 million riel ($2,500).

The charges stem from a December 9, 2017 Facebook post in which Rainsy made an appeal to security forces.

“Please all armed forces, soldiers and police, don’t follow the orders of the dictator if he orders [you] to shoot at and kill innocent people,” the post said.

The court summons also included the five rights a defendant is entitled to, including the right to know the charge and receive the summons, the right to present evidence and call witnesses, and the right to object to the choice of judge and prosecutor.

It continued that a defendant also has the right to either defend themselves or have a lawyer or another individual represent them, and the right to have the final appeal to the court.

Vong Pheakdey, a lawyer representing the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces who filed the complaint, on Thursday confirmed the date of hearing.

Sam Sokong, a lawyer representing Sam Rainsy, said he had not received the summons.

Both Pheakdey and Sokong declined requests from The Post to comment further on the issue.

This is just another among a number of cases Rainsy has faced.

He received a five-year prison sentence over forged Cambodian and Vietnamese border documents in 2016, and a 20-month sentence for defaming Hun Sen after he accused the prime minister of being responsible for the murder of political analyst Kem Ley, also in 2016.

Sam Rainsy was convicted in absentia in December of that year and sentenced to five years’ imprisonment on charges of “being an accomplice in faking public documents and incitement”.

This case originated from a video clip which was posted on Rainsy’s Facebook page back in August 2015.

In the more than 10-minute-long video clip, a then Sam Rainsy Party senator presented a “fake” version of a 1979 treaty that purported to dissolve the border between Cambodia and Vietnam.

In the other case, Rainsy took to Facebook once more to describe Ley’s murder as an act of “state-sponsored terrorism”, after the political analyst was shot dead at a Caltex petrol station in Phnom Penh in 2016.

Rainsy was convicted of defamation and incitement to cause chaos in society by Phnom Penh Municipal Court in March 2017.

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