Jailed Senator Testifies at Rainsy Facebook Post Trial

An imprisoned opposition senator testified on Friday at the trial of opposition leader Sam Rainsy and two assistants that he had not contacted Mr. Rainsy before posting a video of a false border treaty onto the exiled CNRP president’s Facebook page.

The three defendants, all currently in France, were charged as accomplices in crimes committed by opposition Senator Hong Sok Hour when he posted the document—said to contain a key mistranslation of a 1979 treaty between Cambodia and Vietnam—last year.

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Imprisoned opposition Senator Hong Sok Hour, allowed to testify in civilian clothes, is led to the Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Friday to be a witness in a case against CNRP President Sam Rainsy. (Siv Channa/The Cambodia Daily)

The senator received a seven-year prison term last month for forgery and incitement over the post, in which he criticized the government for losing large swaths of land to Vietnam.

Appearing as a witness at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Friday, Mr. Sok Hour, dressed in civilian clothes, said he had not informed the CNRP president that he was going to post the video.

“The day that I posted the video, His Excellency Sam Rainsy was in America for his mission and I don’t know if he knew about [the video] or not,” Mr. Sok Hour said.

“Since I posted the video, I did not have contact with His Excellency Sam Rainsy and he also has not contacted me,” he said.

“It does not mean that I posted it to incite people to go remove the marked border,” he added.

Yung Phanith, a lawyer for the charged assistants—Sathya Sambath, who was accused of producing the video, and Ung Chung Leang, the manager of Mr. Rainsy’s Facebook page—claimed there was scant evidence to prove their culpability.

Based on “the answer of the witness, it is not clear that my clients have a role involved with forging a public document,” Mr. Phanith said.

Mr. Rainsy’s lawyer, Sam Sokong, said that technical experts should be called upon to analyze the history of the Facebook page and post.

Prosecutor Sieng Sok urged the judge to “punish them according to the law” for being accomplices to Mr. Sok Hour.

A verdict is expected on December 27.

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