Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Government official sues Sam Rainsy for treason over 2013 comments on Montagnards

Government official sues Sam Rainsy for treason over 2013 comments on Montagnards

A screenshot of a video of former opposition leader Sam Rainsy (right) speaking with pro-Montagnard activist Kok Ksor in 2013.
A screenshot of a video of former opposition leader Sam Rainsy (right) speaking with pro-Montagnard activist Kok Ksor in 2013.

Government official sues Sam Rainsy for treason over 2013 comments on Montagnards

An anti-terrorism official in the Cambodian government has filed a complaint accusing former opposition leader Sam Rainsy of treason over comments he made in 2013 pledging some autonomy to an ethnic minority group.

The lawsuit was filed by Y Sokhy, head of the Ministry of Interior’s anti-terrorism department, late on Wednesday, just hours after Prime Minister Hun Sen ordered a thorough investigation.

Sokhy confirmed Thursday that the lawsuit had been filed, but declined to comment further. The case is pending before the Phnom Penh Municipal Court.

In 2013, Rainsy met with a pro-Montagnard activist in the US, and pledged a degree of “autonomy” to the ethnic group, largely quoting the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People. Hun Sen and other government officials claimed Rainsy had promised to cede four provinces, a charge Rainsy denies.

The lawsuit also claims Rainsy already admitted the charge in a Phnom Penh Post article from March 8. In that article however, Rainsy denied ever intending to grant independence or a separate state.

The lawsuit is the latest in a slew of legal attacks on Rainsy, who has lived abroad since 2015 to avoid multiple politically tinged convictions. His successor to the presidency of the opposition party, Kem Sokha, was also arrested on widely dismissed charges of “treason” in September, with their party dissolved shortly thereafter.

Rainsy could not immediately be reached for comment.

MOST VIEWED

  • Omicron patients can stay home: PM

    The Ministry of Health has issued a directive on the treatment of people who have tested positive for the highly transmissible Omicron coronavirus variant, following a suggestion from Prime Minister Hun Sen on the night of January 21. The directive permits home quarantine for those who

  • Cambodia’s first ever anime festival kicks off Jan 22 at capital’s F3 centre

    Phnom Penh's first ever Anime Festival will bring together fans, artists, shops and other local businesses with ties to the Japanese animation style for cosplay competitions, online games, pop-up shops and more on January 22, with Friends Futures Factory (F3) hosting. F3 is a project that

  • Mr Pancake or M Crepe? Tasty by any title

    Crowds of people gather around a lone man with a mobile food cart every day at around 2pm in front of the Institut Francais du Cambodge to order what many say are the best crepes in Phnom Penh. To some – even to the man making

  • Fourth dose Covid booster drive jabs 43K in two days

    In the first two days of the fourth-dose Covid-19 vaccination campaign, more than 43,000 people volunteered to get the jabs, while over 4.6 million people have received a third shot. Health ministry spokeswoman Or Vandine said that fourth-dose vaccinations, which began on January 14 exclusively with the Pfizer

  • Singapore backs Cambodia's efforts on Myanmar

    Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong supports Cambodia in its efforts to seek a solution to the ongoing Myanmar crisis as the chair of ASEAN. Lee expressed his support during a meeting with Prime Minister Hun Sen via videoconference on January 14, with the talks focused

  • Phnom Penh condo market loses steam

    Just four new condominiums were launched for sale last year in the capital, down from 17 in 2020, according to research by CBRE Cambodia. The four developments comprised “more than 1,000” units, while the 17 in 2020 consisted of 10,866, the real estate firm reported. CBRE Cambodia categorises condos as “high-range”, “