SAM Rainsy’s lawyer said yesterday that he was putting the finishing touches on an appeal against the opposition leader’s September conviction for disinformation and falsifying public documents.
The 10-year prison term handed down by Phnom Penh Municipal Court was the second sentence Sam Rainsy received this year, after the Svay Rieng provincial court in January ordered him to serve two years behind bars in connection with a protest in Svay Rieng province against alleged Vietnamese border encroachment.
Last month’s ruling – which also called for Sam Rainsy to pay 5 million riels (US$1,187) in fines and 60 million riels in compensation to the state – stemmed from his attempts to vindicate his border claims by publicising maps of the territory in question in press conferences and on the Sam Rainsy Party website.
Lawyer Choung Choungy said yesterday that his client’s actions were not against the law, and that an appeal would be filed at the end of the day today at the latest.
“I will appeal today or tomorrow against the September 23 verdict,” he said yesterday.
Describing the substance of the appeal, he said, “According to my study this should not be a penal offense. My client wants to have the resolution against planting border posts on Khmer land. The second thing he wants is to defend territorial integrity. What he wants are these points, and they are very important.”
Ky Tech, the government lawyer handling the case, said he welcomed the appeal, and trusted the court to make a fair ruling.
“I would like to indicate that Sam Rainsy’s guilt is up to the court, because we, the plaintiffs, have filed a complaint to the court and we have evidence included in the filing already,” he said. “The guilt has been found, and there has been a conviction.”