Sam Rainsy Liable in Use of Maps, Gov’t Says

The Cambodian government announced yesterday that it may file a lawsuit against opposition leader Sam Rainsy for using false border documents to deceive the public.

“The government may use the court system to take measures against Sam Rainsy for deliberately using fake documents,” Border Commission President Var Kimhong told reporters at the Council of Ministers.

According to Mr Kimhong, maps posted on the SRP website inaccurately show several border posts being planted 200 meters inside Cambodian territory.

“This is totally wrong,” he said.

Mr Rainsy, who was convicted in absentia last month for his role in publicly uprooting several border posts in October, has repeatedly accused the government of turning a blind eye to Vietnamese territorial encroachment, and attempted to prove it last month by using GPS devices to compare the current location of border posts against official maps.

“The GPS that Sam Rainsy used to measure the location is wrong, and I think that he is uneducated or did not know how to use a GPS,” Mr Kimhong said.

Last week, four SRP lawmakers wrote a letter to the government demanding answers to six questions about the demarcation of the Vietnamese border. The SRP said in a statement that the government was constitutionally obliged to respond in writing within seven days.

Mr Kimhong said yesterday that he had already answered the same questions at a National Assembly meeting in December.

“Why did they not learn what I responded last year about this issue?” he asked.

But Mr Rainsy contended yesterday that Mr Kimhong had not answered the questions.

“I welcome this beginning of a debate,” Mr Rainsy wrote in an e-mail last night. “But the government should first answer the questions asked by members of parliament according to the Constitution. Tomorrow will be the deadline.”

Mr Rainsy was sentenced last month to two years in prison for his role in the border posts incident.

            (Additional reporting by Julia Wallace)


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