PRIME Minister Hun Sen on Wednesday accused Sam Rainsy of falsifying documents related to the Cambodian-Vietnamese border and warned that the opposition leader will not be able to return for the next National Assembly election in 2013.
“This time, the court sentenced him to jail – no pardon this time. In the next election, there will be opposition parties, but this person will not be there,” Hun Sen said of Sam Rainsy during a graduation ceremony at the Royal University of Phnom Penh. “You must be jailed first, if you are brave enough to come be jailed.”
Sam Rainsy is currently in Europe after being sentenced in absentia to two years in prison by Svay Rieng provincial court last month. He was convicted of destruction of property and racial incitement in connection with an October incident in which he led villagers in Svay Rieng’s Chantrea district in uprooting markers along the Cambodian-Vietnamese border to protest alleged Vietnamese encroachment.
On Monday, chief border negotiator Var Kimhong also threatened Sam Rainsy with charges of falsifying public documents in connection with the border. The opposition leader and his allies in the Sam Rainsy Party (SRP) have presented maps in press conferences and on their Web site that they say vindicate the claim that the border markers were placed illegally.
In 2005, Sam Rainsy fled the Kingdom to avoid a jail term for defamation before returning after receiving a Royal pardon in 2006. Hun Sen said there would be no such pardon for Sam Rainsy in this case, however, accusing the SRP president of “national betrayal”.
“Please, foreigners, do not interfere” in Sam Rainsy’s case, Hun Sen said.
In a video press conference on Wednesday, Sam Rainsy defended the SRP’s use of border maps and challenged the government to produce contradictory information.
“What we have done does not depend simply on our own ideas – we rely on geography experts and history experts,” Sam Rainsy said, calling the government’s demarcation of the border with Vietnam a “national betrayal”.
Sam Rainsy added that he welcomed the prospect of an additional government complaint against him, saying that it would give him further opportunity to research evidence of border encroachment.