THE lawyer for Sam Rainsy Party president Sam Rainsy said Sunday that he would seek to have the president’s upcoming appearance at Phnom Penh Municipal Court delayed.
Sam Rainsy was summoned to appear in court on Tuesday to answer questions relating to charges of falsifying public documents and spreading disinformation, which were filed by government lawyers last month.
Attorney Chuong Chou Ngy said he would appear in court alone on Tuesday and apply to have the case delayed for an unspecified period.
“I will hand in a requisition for the delay on that day, because my client is not in Cambodia,” he said, adding that he was unsure whether the request would be accepted by the court.
“For such cases that involve politics, I’m not sure if I will be successful or not. It depends on the prosecutor, who has the right to rule on the case.”
The charges were brought after Sam Rainsy, who is currently in self-exile in France, released maps he describes as evidence of Vietnamese border incursions. In January, a court in Svay Rieng province sentenced him to two years’ prison following a related incident in which he joined villagers in uprooting temporary border posts in the province’s Chantrea district. Sam Rainsy says Vietnamese authorities illegally planted the posts on Cambodian territory.
Choun Chou Ngy’s request for a delay follows his filing of an appeal at the Appeal Court on February 25 seeking to overturn the Svay Rieng court verdict. If found guilty on both of the new charges, Sam Rainsy could face up to 18 years in prison.
Sok Roeun, the deputy prosecutor at Phnom Penh Municipal Court, declined to comment on the possibility that the hearing could be pushed back, saying he had not yet received the request from his lawyer.