Sam Rainsy, the “acting president” of the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), missed court on Wednesday for the second time concerning a complaint filed by Minister of Interior Sar Kheng, who is seeking $1 million in damages.
Despite his non-appearance, Rainsy was represented by lawyer Sam Sokong, who has defended him in previous court cases.
Phnom Penh Municipal Court deputy prosecutor Seng Kim Lak early this month issued a second summons for Rainsy to appear on Wednesday morning for questioning.
Lawyer Sokong told the hearing that Rainsy would not be appearing in court and had asked him to represent him.
Sar Kheng filed a complaint with Phnom Penh Municipal Court in early July demanding more than four billion riel ($1 million) in compensation after Rainsy alleged that the Minister of Interior supported a revenge plot against Prime Minister Hun Sen.
Rainsy claimed on his Facebook page that Hun Sen’s son-in-law Dy Vichea was seeking revenge against the prime minister over his role in the death of his father, National Police chief Hok Lundy.
Rainsy alleged Hun Sen was behind the helicopter crash in 2008 that killed Lundy.
Rainsy told The Post in July that it was “pointless, worthless and useless to lodge a complaint at the kangaroo court in Phnom Penh, where any plaintiff attacking him was 100 per cent sure to win his case”.
Lawyer Sam Sokong said on Wednesday that Rainsy had requested he represent him and that he was preparing documents for submission to the court.
“I will submit documents to defend Sam Rainsy and request the court fulfils legal requirements such as calling experts who can analyse the nature of the helicopter crash. This serves to establish whether it was an accident or if something else caused it,” Sokong said.
He said the recent court summons was not in line with legal procedure because Rainsy, who also has French nationality, was living in France.
The court should have therefore sent the summons through the French embassy. Attaching it to the fence of the former CNRP headquarters as had been done was not correct procedure, he said.
Hak Seakly, one of the lawyers representing Sar Kheng, said on Wednesday that Rainsy had the right to have defence counsel.
However, it was at the court’s discretion whether his lawyer’s requests would be accepted.
“The court will rule on what the defence submits. We, as the other party in the case, cannot comment on this,” Seakly said.