Sam Rainsy Misses Second Defamation Hearing

Opposition leader Sam Rainsy on Thursday failed to appear for a second scheduled hearing at Phnom Penh Municipal Court to an­swer defamation charges brought against him by co-Min­is­ter of De­fense Prince Norodom Si­ri­vudh on behalf of Funcinpec President Prince Norodom Ranariddh.

Sam Rainsy’s lawyer, Som Chan­­dina, said that the court, in an un­usual move, offered the opposition leader another second hearing.

According to Cambodian law, an arrest warrant is automatically issued if a defendant misses three court dates. The new second hearing has been set for 8:30 am on Nov 26, Som Chandina said.

Sam Rainsy, by e-mail Wednes­day from Paris, was vague about his return date, saying he would soon leave for a conference in Hel­sinki, Finland, and that the ex­act date of his homecoming de­pend­ed on “a number of Eu­r­o­pe­an parliamentarians” who he said would accompany him to Cam­bo­dia.

“When there is a storm, you must temporarily take shelter,” he wrote. “Over the last nine months, the SRP has proved to be a real and effective organization that is not too heavily dependent on any person in particular.”

Also Thursday, court officials confirmed that Prince Siso­wath Tho­mi­co was charged on Wednes­day with de­faming Prime Minister Hun Sen and has been is­sued a summons to appear in court.

Municipal Court Deputy Chief Prosecutor Nget Sarath said he had sent the case to newly appointed court Chief Chiv Keng, who assigned Iv Kim Sry to be investigating judge.

Prince Thomico left for China on Tuesday after saying Mon­day he would stay in Cam­bo­dia but stage a hunger strike if de­tained. No warrant for his arrest has been issued, court officials said Thurs­day.

Asked what the court would do if Thomico missed his hearing date, Nget Sarath said: “That is the mandate of the po­lice.”

(Additional reporting by Mi­chael Cowden)


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