The Appeals Court on October 3 upheld a Municipal Court conviction for Prince Norodom
Ranariddh, former president of Funcinpec and the National Assembly, for breach of
Ranariddh has been living in France since early this year. He had been sentenced
by the lower court to 18 months in prison and fined $150,000.
Mouth Chantha, the spokesman for the new Norodom Ranariddh Party, called the conviction
"very unjust because the court was working purely under the order of the party
Chantha added that Appeals Court Judge Thou Mony and prosecutor Ngeth Sarath said
in court that had Funcinpec not split up in 2006, there would have been no lawsuit,
implying an acknowledgement that the conviction was politically motivated and was
aimed at removing Ranariddh from power.
In an October 4 announcement the party also said that the lawsuit was a tool to hinder
the return of Ranariddh to Cambodia so he will be unable to fairly compete in the
coming 2008 elections.
He was convicted following a suit filed by Nhiek Bun Chhay, Funcinpec's secretary-general,
for selling the Funcinpec's Phnom Penh headquarters in 2004.
Ranariddh was ousted from Funcinpec in October 2006 following an accusation by Prime
Minister Hun Sen that Ranariddh was appointing unqualified individuals to political
positions, and declared that Ranariddh's mistress Ouk Phalla was a moral embarassment.
Soon after, the lawsuit was filed alleging breach of trust for buying land with the
$3.6 million proceeds from the sale of Funcinpec headquarters.