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Rainsy sentence cut to 7 years

Rainsy sentence cut to 7 years

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Sam Rainsy speaks to reporters from the Post in August 2008 in Phnom Penh. Photo by: Heng Chivoan

THE Appeal court yesterday reduced a decade-long sentence handed to opposition leader Sam Rainsy on charges of disinformation and forgery for producing maps alleging Vietnamese encroachment on Cambodian territory to seven years.

The September 2010 sentence against the self-exiled leader of the Sam Rainsy Party was commuted as the original sentence was made under law established by the 1993 United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia, not the Kingdom’s new penal code.

Sam Rainsy produced the maps shortly after he uprooted demarcation posts on the Vietnamese border in Svay Rieng’s Chantrea district during a protest in October 2009, an act which landed him a separate two-year jail sentence.  

Government lawyer Ky Tech said yesterday that a seven-year penalty was correct under the new penal code.

“This decision is according to the law ... we have nothing to oppose, we can accept [the sentence] because the Appeal Court decision is correct,” he said.

Sam Rainsy, who lives in  exile in France, could not be reached for comment yesterday by the time the Post went to press.

But SRP lawmaker Kim Sourphirith said the decision was just a “funny game” by the court to feign independence, adding his party was not interested in whether Sam Rainsy’s sentence was increased or reduced because the case was politically motivated.

“We are not interested in the sentence,” he said.

“We knew beforehand that the court would give Sam Rainsy a guilty sentence,” he said.

The decision, based on Cambodia’s penal code adopted in late 2009, also reduced a five million riel (US$1,233) fine handed to the SRP leader to three million riel but left unchanged 60 million riel he is required to pay in compensation to the state.

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