Sam Rainsy Party officials on Tuesday dismissed as unauthentic an unsigned public statement purporting to represent the views of 1,800 opposition members slamming their party leader and accusing him of faking the diary of murdered actress Piseth Peaklica.
The three-page, Khmer-language statement was distributed to news organizations, but it is unclear where it came from or who wrote it.
Speaking from Paris by telephone, Sam Rainsy accused “henchmen” of Prime Minister Hun Sen of being behind the fabricated attack-letter. “It is another letter forged by Hun Sen’s CPP, like the one I denounced recently…about my alleged connection with a so-called Free Vietnam movement,” Sam Rainsy charged Tuesday night, reading a prepared statement.
Phi Thach, opposition party cabinet chief, said the letter likely was fabricated by a small number of expelled party members. “Somebody who was expelled from the party tried to falsify this letter to [exact] revenge from the party’s steering committee.”
Opposition party parliamentarian Son Chhay also questioned the authenticity of the letter, written on Sam Rainsy Party letterhead. “I’m personally afraid this kind of thing is not genuine,” said Son Chhay, noting the letterhead could be falsely recreated.
The letter claims to represent the views of the opposition party’s steering committee, advisers, students and garment factory workers. It accuses Sam Rainsy of using the people who voted for him as a political tool.
“Sam Rainsy cheated us to protest against the factory…and the factory dismissed us. We became jobless, therefore the garment factory workers should go to the [Sam Rainsy Party] office…and take the land there as their home,” the letter states.
Dissemination of the anti-Sam Rainsy statement is the latest in a series of recent incidents that opposition party members have called a concerted effort by the government to discredit and intimidate the party.
Lon Phon, a Sam Rainsy parliamentarian, was snatched earlier this month from a Phnom Penh street and held for three days until a ransom was paid.
The kidnapping—called an act of political intimidation by opposition party members—closely followed the arrest of two Sam Rainsy Party members in connection with a B-40 rocket attack in Siem Reap town last year against a motorcade of politicians.
The unsigned letter charges Sam Rainsy and “Phan,” allegedly a party member based in Bangkok, with creating a forged diary in an attempt to link Prime Minister Hun Sen with murdered actress Piseth Peaklica who was gunned down by assassins in July. “This untrue story was sent to L’Express and local papers for publication….They did this in order to discredit the reputation of Samdech Prime Minister and sought all means to oppose Samdech Prime Minister,” the letter reads.
Opposition party member Meng Vita said Tuesday the letter, distributed to national and international media, is an attempt to split the Sam Rainsy Party and also discredit the L’Express article, which accuses Hun Sen’s wife, Bun Rany, of ordering the hit on the murdered actress.