Opposition leader Sam Rainsy, who is living in France to avoid prison time, will be tried over allegations of defaming National Assembly President Heng Samrin starting July 28, the Phnom Penh Municipal Court has announced.
Mr. Rainsy decided not to return to the country while traveling abroad in November after the court released a warrant for his arrest over an old conviction for defaming former Foreign Minister Hor Namhong.
In a statement dated April 22, deputy prosecutor Vong Bunvisoth said Mr. Rainsy could ask a lawyer to defend him against charges that he defamed Mr. Samrin by falsely claiming in a Facebook post that the post-Khmer Rouge government led by the Assembly president had sentenced then-Prince Norodom Sihanouk to death.
Mr. Rainsy has noted that he did not make any specific accusations against Mr. Samrin, adding that the socialist regime effectively killed the monarchy.
Neither Mr. Rainsy nor spokesmen for the CNRP could be reached yesterday.
Mr. Rainsy is also facing charges of being an accomplice to forgery and incitement over a post to his Facebook page featuring comments by imprisoned opposition Senator Hong Sok Hour.