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Rainsy to sue Prince Ranariddh, Keat Chhon

Rainsy to sue Prince Ranariddh, Keat Chhon

S am Rainsy, fresh from winning the first round of a legal fight with the
Cambodia Times newspaper, says he has also decided to sue the First Prime

Minister and the Finance Minister.

The dissident Funcinpec MP, on his

return to Cambodia after visiting France, the US and Canada, said he had filed a

suit against Co-PM Prince Norodom Ranariddh in France about two weeks

ago.

The suit sought an apology and "an appropriate amount" in damages

- which his lawyers had advised him should be about US$60,000 - from Ranariddh

for comments he had made to the French press during the ICORC donor meeting in

March.

Ranariddh reportedly said that Rainsy had only begun to speak out

against government corruption after he had been dismissed as finance

minister.

Rainsy said he believed the statement inferred that he had

condoned, or been guilty of, corruption while finance minister.

He said

he was hopeful that the French courts would move quickly on the issue, given

that the case related to statements made in France and both he and Ranariddh

were French citizens. He pledged to donate any damages paid to him to

charity.

Rainsy said he was preparing to file a lawsuit against Finance

Minister Keat Chhon in the Phnom Penh Municipal Court. The suit related to Keat

Chhon's public comments in Cambodia that Rainsy was attempting to get all

foreign aid to the government suspended.

Rainsy said he would seek the

maximum damages allowed for defamation by UNTAC law, and added: "According to

UNTAC law, Keat Chhon could go to jail like the editor of Voice of Khmer Youth.

I don't think that will happen, though."

Rainsy has been frequently

accused by government leaders of seeking an end to all foreign aid to Cambodia,

though he has repeatedly said he only seeks to have conditions attached to the

granting of aid.

Meanwhile, two attacks on Rainsy in the Cambodia

Times in October and November have had their first legal repercussions, with

the newspaper's printer offering a public apology.

Ultimate Print has

paid for the apology to be published on the front page of this issue of the

Phnom Penh Post, after the Cambodia Times refused to publish

it.

The apology does not extend to the two other defendants to Rainsy's

$2 million lawsuit, the Times' Malaysian publisher, Asia PR Publishing,

and its editor-in-chief, Kamaralzaman Rawana Tambu.

Tambu told the

Post that the printer had "decided unilaterally" to make a settlement with

Rainsy.

"They did not consult us, nor did we consult them." He said the lawsuit

against himself and his publisher was an "on-going matter".

Rainsy said

the settlement with Ultimate Print included the payment of $1 in token damages

to him, in return for excluding the printer from the lawsuit.

He said the

printer had also agreed to pay for its apology to be printed in a Khmer

newspaper.

Rasmei Kampuchea, the biggest selling Khmer newspaper,

had refused to publish the apology but "I think the newspapers who do not follow

the government line will have no problem with it," Rainsy said.

Rainsy's

lawsuit was filed in both the Malaysian and Cambodian courts. He said an

injunction issued in Malaysia against the Times reporting on him remained in

force, while the Cambodian court had yet to respond to him after five

months.

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