A HEARING in Sam Rainsy’s appeal against a 10-year jail term handed down against him last year for falsifying public documents and spreading disinformation was delayed yesterday, as the opposition leader was judged not to have legal representation.
Although Sam Rainsy’s lawyer, Choung Choungy, attended the hearing at the invitation of the court, he said he had not been asked by the Sam Rainsy Party leader, who is living in self-imposed exile in France, to represent him.
Last September, Rainsy was found guilty of the charges in connection with maps he produced of Cambodia’s border with Vietnam in Svay Rieng province.
He was sentenced in September to 10 years jail and fined US$14,000.
Sam Rainsy yesterday issued a statement from France in which he called the court “laughable” and said that he merely “used and published both French-made maps and United States-made maps to show that they corroborate one another regarding border delimitation between Cambodia and Vietnam”.
When quizzed by judge Khun Leang Meng about his appearance at the hearing, Choung Choungy said: “His Excellency Sam Rainsy did not depend on me to defend him.”
Judge Khun Leang Meng said that because yesterday’s hearing involved a criminal case, the court could not proceed without Sam Rainsy being represented.
The case was delayed for a 30-day period to allow the opposition leader to find representation. After that period, the court will ask the Cambodian Bar Association to appoint a lawyer to defend him.
Government lawyer Ky Tech said yesterday that he did not oppose the court’s decision to delay.