Subscribe Search

Search form

Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Appeal of Sam Rainsy case heard

Appeal of Sam Rainsy case heard

Appeal of Sam Rainsy case heard

Prum Chea, who was convicted earlier this year in connection with an protest against alleged Vietnamese border encroachments, is escorted from the Cambodian Appeal Court.

The Kingdom’s Appeal Court has heard the case of opposition leader Sam Rainsy and two villagers from Svay Rieng province who were convicted earlier this year in connection with a protest against alleged Vietnamese encroachment on Cambodian territory.

Judge Kun Leang Meng said the verdict had been delayed until next Wednesday due to limited time and the “complicated” nature of the case.

In January, Svay Rieng provincial court sentenced Sam Rainsy to two years in prison for racial incitement and destruction of public property after a protest last year in which he allegedly led villagers in uprooting Vietnamese border posts.

Meas Srey, 40, and Prum Chea, 41, received one year in jail each for their alleged roles in the incident. During a hearing of roughly four hours at the Appeal Court, both villagers denied playing a direct role in uprooting the posts.

“Sam Rainsy just held the post, but he did not uproot it, and neither did I,” Meas Srey said. “A lot of people pulled on it.”

Under questioning from government lawyer Chan Sok Yeang, Prum Chea said he was unaware of the official status of the border posts.

“I only know that the posts were on my land,” he said.
Choung Choungy, Sam Rainsy’s lawyer, said the opposition leader had only been doing his duty as a parliamentarian in bringing attention to the border issue.

“My client had only two aims: to respect the people’s rights and defend territorial integrity,” Choung Choungy said. Chan Sok Yeang said, however, that Sam Rainsy’s protest last year was an attempt at unlawful incitement that came as the government was preoccupied with its dealings with Thailand.

“The government has been worrying about the western border, but he has made problems at the eastern border with Vietnam,” Chan Sok Yeang said.

Sam Rainsy fled abroad last year to avoid prosecution in the case. In a series of video press conferences and postings on the Sam Rainsy Party’s website, however, he produced maps that he said proved his claims of Vietnamese encroachment.
In connection with these attempts at vindication, Sam Rainsy was convicted by the Phnom Penh Municipal Court last month for disinformation and falsification of public documents, receiving a 10-year prison term in addition to the two years he received from the Svay Rieng court in January.
Khim Ponnapan, a member of the government’s border committee who appeared as a witness, said the placement of the border post Sam Rainsy allegedly uprooted had not been finalised.
In a statement from New York, Sam Rainsy pointed to this statement as an admission that the government had made a mistake in demarcating the border, noting that Khim
Ponnapan had declined to disclose the final location of the border post in question.
“My only crime was to expose the government’s mistakes before they were willing to recognise them themselves,” Sam Rainsy said.


  • Kak Channthy, Cambodian Space Project frontwoman, killed in crash at 38 [Updated]

    Updated 5:05pm, Tuesday, March 20, 2018 Kak Channthy, frontwoman of popular The Cambodian Space Project, was killed Tuesday morning in a traffic accident in Phnom Penh. She was 38. Channthy, the internationally recognised singer-songwriter also known as “Srey Thy”, was reportedly travelling in a tuk-tuk on the city's

  • Australian police investigating death threat against Kem Ley's widow

    Updated: 10:17am, Friday March 23, 2018 Australian authorities on Thursday confirmed they have launched an investigation into a crudely written death threat sent tothe family of slain political analyst Kem Ley and Victoria state MP Hong Lim. The typed letter, reported to Victoria police last week, is

  • Apparel groups including H&M and Gap urge Cambodia garment industry reform, seek meeting with Hun Sen

    A group representing some of the largest apparel brands in the US and Europe – including Gap, H&M and ASOS – expressed “growing concern” on Tuesday over several controversial labour laws and ongoing court cases against unionists described as restrictive and unjust. In an open letter

  • Hun Sen says Montagnards don’t exist in Cambodia

    Prime Minister Hun Sen once again attacked ex-opposition leader Sam Rainsy for pledging “autonomy” to Montagnards, claiming – seemingly incorrectly – the ethnic minority does not exist in Cambodia. “We respect all minorities such as Jarai, Steang, Phnong, but we have never had Montagnards,” the premier said