Sam Rainsy Denied Access to Jailed Supporter

Prevented on Monday from visiting a party activist jailed re­cently for distributing leaflets judged de­famatory to Prime Min­ister Hun Sen, opposition leader Sam Rain­sy said the case is political and his party is standing by the ac­cu­sa­tions contained in the leaflet.

Despite having authorization from municipal court officials for the visit, Sam Rainsy said the Prey Sar prison authorities were un­willing to let him meet Nou Sath without clearance from their superiors in the Interior Ministry.

“It seems to be a political case be­cause they bypass the court authorities,” Sam Rainsy said.

Opposition officials distributed documents from Investigating Judge Hing Thirith granting permission for the visit and claimed that the prosecuting judge in the case had also telephoned the pris­on with clearance.

Prison Director Kim Sarin de­nied Monday acting improperly and said he required written permission from the prosecuting judge, as well as the investigating judge, before allowing access to a prisoner.

“He can visit the prison whenever he receives approval from the prosecutor,” Kim Sarin said.

Nou Sath, 35, was charged May 10 with defamation and disseminating false information after po­lice arrested him distributing leaf­lets blaming Hun Sen for, among other things, the 1997 factional fighting, deforestation, loss of border territory and repression of dem­onstrations after the 1998 election results.

“I am inviting the authorities to meet with me, and I will give them evidence supporting the contents of the leaflets,” Sam Rainsy said.

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