Prime Minister Hun Sen’s lawyer appeared at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Thursday to submit evidence in a defamation case against opposition leader Sam Rainsy, who claimed that a young political provocateur had been offered $1 million to agitate against the opposition.
Ky Tech, the prime minister’s lawyer, told reporters afterward that he had handed over a compact disk containing a video, downloaded from Facebook, showing Mr. Rainsy making the claims against Mr. Hun Sen at a public gathering in Paris.
The case revolves around a series of digital messages posted to Facebook in November in which a “grandpa” offers a “grandchild” $1 million following a discussion about trying to break apart the opposition CNRP.
Many commenters on Facebook speculated that the conversation was between Mr. Hun Sen and Thy Sovantha, a social media star who rose to fame supporting the CNRP.
Mr. Tech said he had been summoned by the court to submit evidence and make any additions to the complaint he had filed against Mr. Rainsy.
Asked by reporters if the messages were fake, Mr. Tech said it was up to the court to investigate. “I think the court will do that, because it’s the court’s right,” he said.
Ly Sophana, a spokesman for the court, said the deputy prosecutor assigned to the case “will continue the processing,” while deputy prosecutor Sieng Sok said, “I will follow procedures,” and declined further comment.
Mr. Rainsy’s lawyer, Sam Sokong, said his team would be looking closely at posts on Facebook. “We will try to find more evidence,” he said.