Lawyer appears for Rainsy in defamation case

Lawyer Choung Choungy appeared at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court yesterday on behalf of self-exiled opposition leader Sam Rainsy, who had been summoned for questioning over a two-year-old defamation and disinformation lawsuit.

Mr Choungy said after a closed, roughly 15-minute meeting with Judge Kimsan, that his client was not interested in the lawsuit filed against Mr Rainsy by Foreign Affairs Minister Hor Namhong.

“My client is not interested in this case, and I met with the investigating judge because I received the summons from him,” Mr Choungy said, before declining to answer further questions.

Deputy Prosecutor Ek Chheng Huot confirmed yesterday that Mr Rainsy had been charged with defamation and disinformation, but declined to say when the SRP leader was charged or to answer further questions.

Mr Rainsy was summoned to appear in court yesterday over comments he made in 2008 alleging that Mr Namhong was implicated in Khmer Rouge-era crimes.

In May, a Paris appeal court upheld Mr Rainsy’s conviction for defaming Mr Namhong by publishing similar allegations in his 2008 memoirs.

Defamation and disinformation together carry a maximum punishment of four years in prison. Mr Rainsy, who is abroad, has already been sentenced to a total 12 years in prison on two separate sets of charges.

SRP spokesman Yim Sovann said yesterday that Mr Rainsy would continue to lead the party and “will return when there is a political solution.”

He said Mr Rainsy would continue to attend meetings and talk with supporters via videoconference technology.

(Additional reporting by Clancy McGilligan)


Related Stories

Latest News

The Weekly DispatchA weekly newsletter from The Cambodia Daily delivering news, analysis and opinion to your inbox. Published every Friday at 11:30am. Sign up today.