Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Rainsy skips court in King insult case

Rainsy skips court in King insult case

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Sam Rainsy greets supporters upon his return from exile in 2013 prior to the start of the national elections campaign period. Heng Chivoan

Rainsy skips court in King insult case

Former Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) president Sam Rainsy failed to appear in court on Thursday to answer charges of insulting King Norodom Sihamoni.

Rainsy was due at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court after being summonsed by deputy prosecutor Sieng Sok for posting on Facebook, accusations that a letter released by the King appealing to people to vote at the upcoming national elections was “a forgery” made under duress.

Rainsy failed to appear as he is abroad and living in France.

On June 5, a royal letter was released urging Cambodians to vote at the July 29 polls “without fear of oppression, threat or intimidation from anyone or any political party”.

The letter was signed by the King on May 18, five days before Rainsy released a letter urging the King not to appeal for people to vote.

Hence, he called into question the authenticity of the royal letter and alleged that its date had been altered by palace officials to invalidate his.

In reply to queries from The Post, Rainsy stood by his claims, saying: “When I said the King’s letter had a fake date, it was not an insult. I wanted to target Hun Sen, who holds the King hostage.

“Why didn’t [Hun Sen] sue me after I claimed this? It is because he doesn’t dare to as it is the truth,” Rainsy said on Thursday.

Phnom Penh Municipal Court spokesperson Ly Sophana could not be reached for comment while Sam Sokong, a lawyer who previously represented Rainsy, said he had not been asked to represent the latter in this case.

The former opposition leader has been in trouble with the courts on many previous occasions, with some cases still pending.

So Chantha, a professor of political science, said Rainsy’s outstanding cases would likely be solved through a political solution while breaking the lèse majesté law could be cleared by a request for a royal pardon.

“Rainsy has been charged many times due to his political rhetoric, [creating] political tension. So when there’s a political solution, he should request [the King] for a pardon and everything will be cleared,” he said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Police seek arrest of Chinese ‘gang’

    Cambodian police remain on the lookout for 20 Chinese nationals who earlier this month posted a video clip threatening to stoke insecurity in Preah Sihanouk province, though the Chinese Embassy in Phnom Penh maintained the group posed no threats to Cambodia’s national security. National Police

  • Rapper deletes song critical of Cambodian social issues

    A young musician has deleted from Facebook and YouTube a rap song that was critical of Cambodia’s social issues and announced that he will stop singing the song after officials visited his home in Siem Reap province and allegedly gave him a warning. Provincial

  • Man arrested for fake PM endorsement

    The owner of currency exchange company GCG Asia Co Ltd was temporarily detained by the court yesterday for attempted fraud after Prime Minister Hun Sen reacted to the company using his name and pictures to allege his endorsement of the firm. Phnom Penh Municipal Court

  • Further ex-CNRP called for questioning

    Thirty-five former Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) members and activists in Battambang province have now been called for questioning regarding the alleged violation of a Supreme Court ruling that saw their party dissolved. Meanwhile, another 35 people in Kampong Thom province have claimed they were questioned