The Phnom Penh Municipal Court yesterday issued a letter ordering the seizure of former Cambodia National Rescue Party President Sam Rainsy’s land in Chak Angre Leu commune, which houses the former party headquarters and Rainsy’s private residence, to pay fines levied in two defamation convictions.

The order relates to separate defamation cases filed by National Assembly President Heng Samrin and Prime Minister Hun Sen against Rainsy. In both cases, the court said the former opposition leader had exhausted his appeals.

“First, temporarily confiscate the properties of the debtor Sam Rainsy, such as immovable property with land certificate located in Chak Angre Leu commune, Meanchey district, Phnom Penh and wait for the court to decide on the case,” the warrant reads, adding that the land will be returned if Rainsy clears his penalties.

Rainsy could not be reached today and Ky Tech, lawyer for both Samrin and Hun Sen, said he was busy and could not comment.

Samrin’s case relates to a Facebook video on Rainsy’s account alleging falsely that the People's Republic of Kampuchea government, led by Samrin, tried the late King Norodom Sihanouk in absentia and had sentenced him to death. Rainsy was ordered to pay Samrin around $37,200 and approximately $2,400 to the state.

The other conviction follows accusations by Rainsy that the premier bribed social media celebrity and ruling party champion Thy Sovantha with $1 million to wage a campaign against the opposition, after text messages purportedly between Hun Sen and Sovantha were leaked. The court sided with the premier and his claims to $1 million in damages last December.

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