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Lawyer: It couldn’t have been Rainsy

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Sam Rainsy’s defence lawyer Sam Sokong speaks to reporters outside the Supreme Court following the appeal hearing in the incitement trial of the former opposition leader. Pha Lina

Lawyer: It couldn’t have been Rainsy

The Supreme Court on Wednesday heard an appeal by Sam Rainsy after the former court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) president was sentenced in December 2016 to five years imprisonment on charges of “being an accomplice in faking public documents and incitement”.

Rainsy’s defence argued that he could not have been an “accomplice” in the video presentation of a “fake” border treaty as he was speaking at an open forum outside the Kingdom at the material time.

Rainsy and his Facebook administrators Sambath Satya and Ueng Chong Leang were found guilty by the Phnom Penh Municipal Court on charges of “faking public documents, using fake public documents and incitement to disturb social security”.

The charges stemmed from the video clip, posted on Rainsy’s Facebook page, in which then opposition Senator Hong Sok Hour presented a “fake” version of a 1979 treaty that purportedly dissolved the border between Cambodia and Vietnam.

The municipal court said Satya’s and Chong Leang’s five-year sentences would amount to three years each, with two years suspended.

Sok Hour was sentenced to seven years but was later pardoned by King Norodom Sihamoni after serving more than 800 days in prison. He also apologised to Prime Minister Hun Sen.

Rainsy’s defence lawyer Sam Sokong said at Wednesday’s hearing that the video clip was filmed by Satya and Chong Leang at the request of Sok Hour, and that his client had no knowledge of the video as he was abroad at the time.

“[Rainsy’s] Facebook page was like a TV channel for the sharing of information on which many people posted material,” Sokong said.

Judge Kong Srim will deliver the verdict on Monday.

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