Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Govt hands out old Rainsy ‘apology’



Govt hands out old Rainsy ‘apology’

Govt hands out old Rainsy ‘apology’

THE government has distributed what it calls an “apology” letter that Sam Rainsy wrote to Prime Minister Hun Sen in 2006, though the self-exiled opposition leader has disputed that characterisation.

Tith Sothea, a spokesman for the Council of Ministers’ Press and Quick Reaction Unit, said the government distributed the letter to local media last week so that “national and international public opinion know that Sam Rainsy has apologised”.

In his 2006 letter, Sam Rainsy wrote, “I am regretful for having conducted improper acts towards Samdech [Hun Sen] such as accusing Samdech of being the mastermind behind the grenade attack on the protesters on 30 March 1997 in front of the National Assembly”.

The attack, which targeted an opposition rally, left 16 dead and more than 100 wounded.

Sam Rainsy said in an email yesterday that his 2006 letter was not an apology.

“I might ‘regret’ the way I had ‘improperly’ acted as a tribunal in straightforwardly accusing Hun Sen and Norodom Ranariddh of various crimes because I actually was not a tribunal, whose role is to investigate first before coming to any conclusion and handing down any sentence,” Sam Rainsy wrote.

“However, I have preserved my right to believe, and I do and still believe, in the responsibility of Hun Sen and Norodom Ranariddh in the related crimes.”

Tith Sothea said, however, that the letter had “equal value to an apology”.

The letter was part of a political settlement that allowed Sam Rainsy to return to the Kingdom in February 2006. Sam Rainsy had fled the country the previous year after losing his parliamentary immunity in connection with a defamation complaint filed by Prince Norodom Ranariddh.

The SRP leader, a veteran of legal battles with the ruling Cambodian People’s Party, had accused Norodom Ranariddh and Hun Sen of corruption in the formation of their coalition government.

On Wednesday, the Appeal Court is set to hand down a ruling in relation to Sam Rainsy’s January conviction at the Svay Rieng provincial court for racial incitement and destruction of public property as part of a protest he staged near the Vietnamese border.

The opposition leader, currently living abroad, received a 10-year jail term at Phnom Penh Municipal Court last month for disinformation and falsification of public documents after he published maps and held a series of press conferences earlier this year to discuss alleged Vietnamese encroachment on Cambodian territory.

MOST VIEWED

  • Cambodia on the verge of national tragedy, WHO warns

    The World Health Organisation (WHO) in Cambodia warned that the country had reached another critical point amid a sudden, huge surge in community transmission cases and deaths. “We stand on the brink of a national tragedy because of Covid-19. Despite our best efforts, we are

  • Phnom Penh curfew starts today

    A two-week curfew from 8pm to 5am starts today in Phnom Penh, a day after a sub-decree detailing administrative measures to contain Covid-19 was issued by Prime Minister Hun Sen. “Travelling in Phnom Penh is temporally banned between 8pm and 5am,” said Phnom Penh governor

  • Vaccination open to foreigners in Cambodia

    The Ministry of Health on April 8 issued an announcement on Covid-19 vaccination for foreigners residing and working in Cambodia, directing the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training and local authorities to register them. Health minister Mam Bun Heng, who is also head of the inter-ministerial

  • Cambodia gears up for muted New Year festival

    The recent curfew and restrictions imposed in the capital and other Covid-19 hotspots were intended to break the chain of transmission, Ministry of Health spokeswoman Or Vandine said as municipal and provincial authorities issued new directives banning certain activities during the upcoming Khmer New Year

  • Culture ministry: Take Tuol Sleng photos down, or else

    The Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts has told Irish photographer Matt Loughrey to take down the photos of Khmer Rouge victims at Tuol Sleng Genocidal Museum which he allegedly colourised and altered to show them smiling. The ministry said Loughrey's work is unacceptable, affecting

  • Covid-19 vaccination now obligatory

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on April 11 issued a sub-decree making Covid-19 vaccination compulsory for individuals unless they have a medical certificate proving they have pre-existing health conditions that prevent them from doing so. «This applies to all members of the armed forces and civil servants