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Rainsy’s defamation case in France tossed

CNRP president Sam Rainsy appears during a meeting of senior opposition officials in Manila last month. Photo supplied
CNRP president Sam Rainsy appears during a meeting of senior opposition officials in Manila last month. Photo supplied

Rainsy’s defamation case in France tossed

A lawsuit lodged in a French court alleging that self-exiled CNRP leader Sam Rainsy defamed Deputy Prime Minister Hor Namhong in a Facebook post has been dismissed on a technicality.

The case, filed before the Superior Court of Paris on January 29, centred on a post on Rainsy’s Facebook page last November in which he asked Namhong “to apologise to the souls and families of the victims who got killed by the Khmer Rouge at the Boeung Trabek prison in the last 1970s” and accused Namhong of being involved in the killings.

Court documents show that the English text of Rainsy’s post was not included in the complaint and the French translation provided did not cite if it was from the English or Khmer text.

“For these reasons, they declare null the lawsuit on Sam Rainsy on January 29 at the request of Hor Namhong, as well as any subsequent legal pursuits,” the court verdict reached on July 8 reads.

Rainsy said his lawyers highlighted the technicalities in Namhong’s complaint, which “was confusing and misleading”, and as a result the suit was declared null and invalid.

“The file Hor Namhong’s lawyers submitted to the French court was not appropriately presented and detailed. In particular, it showed a serious translation problem,” Rainsy said, via email.

“However, the Hun Sen government, using its Kangaroo court, continues to persecute Sam Rainsy – who was expelled from the National Assembly last November – on the basis of Hor Namhong’s groundless judicial complaints,” Rainsy added on Facebook.

Rainsy on trial: An interactive timeline of the opposition leader's ongoing legal battles

Rainsy has remained overseas since a warrant was issued for his arrest in relation to a separate 2011 defamation conviction in local courts lodged by Namhong. Namhong lost a previous defamation suit against Rainsy in the French Supreme Court in 2011.

The deputy prime minister also filed another lawsuit against Rainsy in French courts, which the CNRP leader eventually won at the French Supreme Court in 2011.

Namhong’s lawyer, Kar Savuth, and son, Hor Nambora, said they were not aware of either of the French cases.

“As far as I know, Hor Namhong never told me he lost the [2011 French] case. But now that Rainsy has posted on his Facebook that he won the case – I have no idea about this,” Savuth said.

Additional reporting by Alessandro Marazzi Sassoon

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