The Appeal Court held a hearing yesterday in the defamation case against opposition leader Sam Rainsy, who last year accused the prime minister of obtaining fraudulent Facebook “likes”.
Last November, Rainsy was convicted in absentia and ordered to pay about $2,500 to the state, and about $3,750 in compensation to plaintiff Som Soeun, a ruling party web administrator.
The case relates to a Facebook post from last March in which Rainsy alleged Soeun had urged CPP members to create fake accounts to boost the number of Hun Sen’s “likes”.
Rainsy’s post – which also included allegations of paid-for “likes” from so-called click farms – included leaked instructions from Soeun to promote the premier’s page, but which did not call for fake accounts.
Rainsy’s lawyer, Sam Sokong, nonetheless requested the ruling be overturned on the grounds the instructions had become public.
In an email, Rainsy would only say he believed Facebook would “confirm . . . Hun Sen or his Facebook team did buy a large number of fakes ‘likes’.” A verdict is due February 9.
Additional re-porting by Leonie Kijewski