Sam Rainsy vows to appeal a 10 million riel fine imposed by the NEC for ‘insulting’ ruling party members during last year’s election.
Former Dey Krahorm residents wait outside the Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Wednesday.
OPPOSITION leader Sam Rainsy refused to pay a fine of 10 million riels (US$2,391) during a meeting with Phnom Penh Municipal Court officials Wednesday, saying he will only pay up once he is given the right to appeal the penalty at the Supreme Court.
The National Election Committee fined the SRP president for making derogatory remarks about the leaders of the ruling Cambodian People's Party during national elections in July last year.
While he agreed to pay the money if the law forced him to, Sam Rainsy remained defiant, saying that he had the right to appeal the decision at the Supreme Court.
"I respect the law. I just ask to use the law of the court first. I have rights to lodge a complaint to the Supreme Court," Sam Rainsy told reporters after the hearing.
"If the Supreme Court decides it disagrees with me, I will ask the King to issue a royal amnesty for me. Then, if I have no other way to walk, I will pay."
Sam Rainsy added that he had also asked the court about opposition complaints relating to the fraudulent use of 1018 voter registration forms and fake voting documents, but said that the prosecutor had been unable to provide any information since he was not in charge of the complaint.
"I asked about my complaint against commune chiefs who faked documents because this penal offense is bigger than the NEC's complaint," he said.
When contacted Wednesday, Municipal Court Prosecutor Sok Roeun did not comment in detail on the case. But he said that Sam Rainsy's bid to appeal the court's decision at the Supreme Court was not legal, since the Constitutional Council had closed off the option of advancing his appeal and confirmed the NEC's decision, forcing Sam Rainsy to pay the fine.
NEC Secretary General Tep Nytha said that the case was now out of his hands, but confirmed that Sam Rainsy had no option left but to pay the fine. "He has no rights to protest under the law," he said.