Sam Rainsy Sues PM, Ranariddh—Again

Opposition leader Sam Rainsy said Tuesday that he filed yet another lawsuit, this time accusing the leaders of Funcinpec and the CPP of plotting his death.

The latest legal tit-for-tat involving the opposition leader and his Fun­cinpec and CPP counterparts stemmed from the mysterious events surrounding Senate Presi­dent Chea Sim’s July 13 escorted de­parture to Bangkok, and later com­ments by Prince Norodom Ra­nariddh saying that his intervention the night of July 12 had prevented “big bloodshed.”

Last month, Prince Ranariddh told reporters the if he and Prime Min­ister Hun Sen “could not have prevented [the violence], I would have been beheaded first and then Funcinpec officials and then Sam Rainsy Party members.”

Sam Rainsy said the lawsuit against both Prince Ranariddh and Hun Sen is based on an Untac law that prohibits plotting someone’s death. The opposition lead­er argued that since Prince Ranariddh said he prevented the vio­lence, then the Funcinpec presi­dent must know about a plot to kill Sam Rainsy Party members.

“Ranariddh is at best a witness and at worst an accomplice,” he said on Tuesday. “Ranariddh’s tes­timony points to Hun Sen as the mastermind of a possible bloody plot.”

Addressing reporters at Phnom Penh International Air­port after returning from Beijing, the prince said that he and Hun Sen “never threatened Sam Rain­sy. But I want to ask him that if he did not do anything wrong when [CPP President] Chea Sim went to Thailand, then why did he flee the country to hide?”

“It means that Sam Rainsy did something inappropriate, but [Hun Sen and I] both never wanted to kill him,” he said, adding: “Why would I want to kill him?”

Government spokesman Khieu Kanharith said there was no plot to kill Sam Rainsy and called on the opposition leader to pro­vide evidence.

The latest court complaint comes amid a slew of lawsuits and counter lawsuits by the na­tion’s political leaders. Sam Rain­sy has already sued Prince Ra­na-r­id­dh, alleging corruption involving the construction of the National Assembly, and Hun Sen, ac­cusing the premier of masterminding a 1997 grenade attack on a Phnom Penh rally led by the opposition leader.

Hun Sen has filed a defamation lawsuit against Sam Rainsy over his allegations of CPP involvement in the Jan 22 killing of union leader Chea Vichea. Funcinpec officials have filed a defamation suit against the opposition leader af­ter Sam Rainsy accused the prince of accepting a $30 million bribe to join the government. Fun­cinpec have also launched a suit over the same allegations against former Funcinpec senator Kem Sokha who is now director of the Cambodian Center for Hu­man Rights.

Sam Rainsy said that all the lawsuits worked in his favor be­cause, he claimed, Prince Rana­riddh and Hun Sen have more to hide. Besides, Sam Rainsy said, lawsuits are relatively inexpensive because his lawyers are volunteers and his party “never bribes the judges.”

Prince Ranariddh said Sam Rain­sy should “not use the lawsuits as a joke.”

Most political observers agree that the lawsuits are not good for the country, while King Noro­dom Sihanouk has also ex­pressed his dismay at the legal spider web woven by the country’s political leaders.

“The three political leaders must share ideas in democratic ways instead of accusing each other and suing each other,” said Heav Veasna, managing director of the Center for Social De­vel­op­ment. “It is nonsense.”

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