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PM got preview of Times' Rainsy story

PM got preview of Times' Rainsy story

C O-PREMIER Norodom Ranariddh revealed that he was given the draft article published in the Cambodia Times accusing former Finance Minister Sam Rainsy of treason and said he advised the paper not to run the story due to the sensitivity of the issue.

"[The Cambodia Times] presented to me the draft of the article," the Prince said.

"I said 'I don't want to even have a look at the paper [the draft article],' " Ranariddh said at the end of the ceremony installing Foreign Minister Ung Huot on Nov 8.

"I have advised them [theTimes] not to publicize such news," he added.

He said he was in the possession of the intercepted faxes the Times said it based its story on, but denied he leaked them.

I have nothing to do with these documents [the intercepted faxes]," the premier said, adding "I don't know where the Cambodia Times got them from." On its front page of the Oct 23-29 issue, the Times ran an article implicating Rainsy and his wife in treason, such as having secret contacts with the Khmer Rouge without the authorization from the government's leaders, conspired in criminal activities and involving themselves in covert activity to oppose the government.

Rainsy has filed two law suits in Kuala Lumpur and Phnom Penh against the newspaper, seeking $1 million compensation for damage to his reputation. If he wins, he said he will give the money to Unicef to help widows and children, especially those of Funcinpec supporters killed in the 1993 polls.

He also demanded that the newspaper publish on its front page an apology and reveal all the names of people from whom the paper obtained the intercepted faxes. T. Mohan, the Times' editor, was summoned to the municipal court last week to give preliminary evidence in the Rainsy case. He declined to comment, saying it would be prejudicial.

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