The Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) “acting president” Sam Rainsy has been summoned to appear before the Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Thursday morning to address charges of “public defamation” and “incitement to commit felony” after he called King Norodom Sihamoni “a puppet” and Cambodians “hostages of Hun Sen” in an interview.
The summons, dated September 18, said: “I, Keo Sothea, representative of the Phnom Penh Municipal Court’s Prosecutor Office, invite Sam Rainsy to the Phnom Penh Municipal Court’s Prosecutor Office on September 26, 2019, to clarify the charges of public defamation and incitement to commit a felony against him.
“The person concerned must come as per this letter on time and bring along documents related to the above case if any.”
The charges against Rainsy stem from his interview on Radio Free Asia’s Khmer service on September 12.
Rainsy said: “All people on Cambodian territory are hostages of Hun Sen. Even our King is a hostage of Hun Sen. He [the King] does not dare to do anything. He is afraid of Hun Sen. He just wants to keep his throne. So we are keeping the King [on the sidelines] because we cannot depend on a King who is the puppet of Hun Sen like he is today.”
The summons arrived as Rainsy, who fled abroad to escape a slew of court charges and convictions, continues calling on Cambodians to support him on his quest to oppose Prime Minister Hun Sen and “save Cambodian democracy”.
In a bid to secure support among the military, Rainsy claimed last week that the CNRP had prepared a budget for members of the armed forces who defect from the current leadership.
Hun Sen’s lawyer Ky Tech could not be reached for comment yesterday but he previously told The Post that Rainsy made the statement out of “ill intentions to incite chaos, unrest and insecurity in society”.
But Ou Chanrath, a former CNRP lawmaker, said Rainsy views the Kingdom’s courts as one of Hun Sen’s tools.
“Sam Rainsy no longer cares about any summons or sentences by Cambodian courts against him. We see that he continues to insult the King despite criticism,” he said.
Rainsy has been summoned in 14 court cases – including on charges of insulting the King and other government leaders.