NRP Accuses Hun Sen of Coercing Courts

The Norodom Ranariddh Party has accused Prime Minister Hun Sen of trying to pressure the courts when he pledged Sunday to implement Prince Ranariddh’s prison conviction, which is being appealed at the Supreme Court.

In a statement issued Monday, the NRP said the premier’s remarks “show that Hun Sen is using his influence and power to pressure and force the court to convict the prince.”

The NRP expressed regret that Hun Sen appears to repeatedly and unnecessarily target the prince.

“Hun Sen has regarded the prince as an enemy. This shows that the prince is a political victim,” the statement said, adding: “Hun Sen is a prime minister. He should implement the law. He should not take political revenge.”

The Phnom Penh Municipal Court convicted Prince Ranariddh of breach of trust in March 2007 over the sale of Funcinpec’s former party headquarters. The decision was subsequently upheld by the Appeal Court in October, and a second appeal is awaiting a hearing date at the Supreme Court.

Speaking at the Chaktomuk Conference Hall on Sunday, Hun Sen said he was committed to implementing Prince Ranariddh’s conviction because the prince continues to criticize him.

“You attacked. I will attack you,” Hun Sen said. “You are much too brave. You want to take my eye out. You insult a disabled person…. Until now he attacks only me. I have no pity,” he said, adding that he has already informed King Norodom Sihamoni of his intentions to enforce the prince’s prison sentence.

“Retired King, Queen and King, please advise him…. Even though you are the son of the retired [King Norodom Sihanouk] or brother of the King, I will handcuff you,” he said. The prime minister, however, quickly qualified his comments: “Please forgive me. I have no understanding. I will let the Supreme Court do its work.”

NRP spokesman Muth Chann­tha said Monday that Hun Sen is undermining the court’s independence.

“He announced about the verdict. It means that Hun Sen has ordered the court to punish the prince. Hun Sen abuses the court,” he said.

Muth Channtha said if the Sup­reme Court upholds the prince’s guilty verdict, the NRP would request a pardon from the King.

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