Appeals against the January convictions of self-exiled opposition leader Sam Rainsy and two villagers for illegally removing border posts on the Cambodia-Vietnam border are scheduled to be heard at the Court of Appeal today, a court official said yesterday.
The scheduled hearing follows postponements on Aug 9 and July 6, when lawyers either boycotted the hearing because the imprisoned villagers were absent or were absent from proceedings themselves.
“We have submitted the time to hear this case on Oct 5, and we will not delay the hearing again, even if the involved parties do not attend,” said prosecutor Nget Sarath.
Lawyers for Mr Rainsy and the villagers said yesterday that they planned to attend.
“I will ask the court to drop the charge,” said Mr Rainsy’s lawyer, Chuong Chuongy, adding that he had evidence that the uprooted border posts had actually been planted on Cambodian villagers’ land.
Attorney Sam Sokong said his clients, villagers Prum Chea and Meas Srey, were detained in Kandal Provincial Prison and were expected to attend the hearing.
“They are the victims and the court should drop the charges,” Mr Sokong said.
Mr Rainsy was sentenced to two years for damaging public property and incitement to racial discrimination, while Mr Chea and Ms Srey each received one-year sentences for damaging public property.
SRP spokesman Yim Sovann said Mr Rainsy would return to serve the jail term handed down in January if the two villagers were released and given back their land.
(Additional reporting by Clancy McGilligan)