Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Rainsy welcomes US judge’s announcement in Facebook case

Rainsy welcomes US judge’s announcement in Facebook case

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Photographs of the prime minister dancing with his wife during Khmer New Year celebrations were uploaded to his Facebook in April. Hun Sen has made use of the platform to appeal to Cambodians on a more personal level. Facebook

Rainsy welcomes US judge’s announcement in Facebook case

Former Cambodia National Rescue Party leader Sam Rainsy and his legal team have welcomed a California court’s indication that Facebook will be obliged to provide information related to various legal cases the self-exiled opposition figure is facing in the Kingdom.

Judge Sallie Kim said in a hearing Monday that she would “likely” instruct the social media giant to hand over pertinent data, specifically in relation to Rainsy’s domestic legal woes.

Rainsy’s head lawyer, Noah Hagey, submitted English translations of four Cambodian court documents covering four separate convictions on Tuesday, all of which stemmed from statements made by Rainsy on Facebook.

The first complaint is about Rainsy’s claim that Hun Sen buys Facebook ‘likes’. An analysis shows that a disproportionate amount of the premier’s likes originate overseas, including in countries known to harbour so-called “click farms”. The second case concerns an accusation from Rainsy that the Cambodian government was behind the murder of government critic Kem Ley, a belief that many others share. The third stems from Rainsy’s accusation that Hun Sen bribed social media activist Thy Sovantha to attack the opposition. Rainsy’s accusation was seemingly substantiated by leaked messages purportedly showing conversations between the two, although the messages have not been independently verified. The fourth case was based on a video recording of Rainsy urging soldiers not to obey orders that endanger civilians.

The submissions were made after Judge Sallie Kim said Monday she was inclined to honour Rainsy’s request for information from Facebook, but noted that the initial request was overly broad.

“I am grateful to the Court’s careful review of the Application, and to its indication that discovery of Facebook will be permitted,” Rainsy said in an email Wednesday.

He reiterated claims that Hun Sen and his “agents” have abused the platform to “defraud ordinary Cambodians during this critical time in our country”.

Hagey said the legal team continues to “be surprised by Facebook’s overly-zealous opposition to ordinary discovery of Facebook”.

Both Hagey and Rainsy suggested that the information received could “exonerate” Rainsy of his convictions in Cambodia, though the Kingdom's justice system has been regularly disparaged as a tool of the ruling party.

Updates to follow.

MOST VIEWED

  • Hong Kong firm done buying Coke Cambodia

    Swire Coca-Cola Ltd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Hong Kong-listed Swire Pacific Ltd, on November 25 announced that it had completed the acquisition of The Coca-Cola Co’s bottling business in Cambodia, as part of its ambitions to expand into the Southeast Asian market. Swire Coca-Cola affirmed

  • Cambodia's Bokator now officially in World Heritage List

    UNESCO has officially inscribed Cambodia’s “Kun Lbokator”, commonly known as Bokator, on the World Heritage List, according to Minister of Culture and Fine Arts Phoeurng Sackona in her brief report to Prime Minister Hun Sen on the night of November 29. Her report, which was

  • NagaWorld union leader arrested at airport after Australia trip

    Chhim Sithar, head of the Labour Rights Supported Union of Khmer Employees at NagaWorld integrated casino resort, was arrested on November 26 at Phnom Penh International Airport and placed in pre-trial detention after returning from a 12-day trip to Australia. Phnom Penh Municipal Court Investigating Judge

  • Sub-Decree approves $30M for mine clearance

    The Cambodian government established the ‘Mine-Free Cambodia 2025 Foundation’, and released an initial budget of $30 million. Based on the progress of the foundation in 2023, 2024 and 2025, more funds will be added from the national budget and other sources. In a sub-decree signed by Prime Minister Hun Sen

  • Two senior GDP officials defect to CPP

    Two senior officials of the Grassroots Democratic Party (GDP) have asked to join the Cambodian People’s Party (CPP), after apparently failing to forge a political alliance in the run-up to the 2023 general election. Yang Saing Koma, chairman of the GDP board, and Lek Sothear,

  • Cambodia's poverty cut in half from 2009 to 2019: World Bank report

    A report published by the World Bank on November 28 states that Cambodia’s national poverty rate fell by almost half between 2009 and 2019, but the Covid-19 pandemic recently reversed some of the poverty reduction progress. Cambodia’s poverty rate dropped from 33.8 to 17.8 per cent over the 10