SRP Members Leave For Philippines For Party Meeting With Rainsy

Members of the SRP this week are meeting with self-exiled party president Sam Rainsy in Manila in order to discuss the party’s strategy and the implications of Mr Rainsy’s pending appeals against his jail sentences, a SRP leader said yesterday.

Keo Phearum, SRP Cabinet chief, said all 15 members of the party’s permanent committee left for the Philippines on Saturday for a week of meetings and discussions with Mr Rainsy, who has been in self-imposed exile in Paris since 2009.

“All [committee members] have gone to Manila for a meeting,” he said. “At the beginning of the new year the SRP holds a meeting for the party strategy. Normally we hold it in Phnom Penh, but our president is in exile.”

“A lot of things are on the agenda, also about our leader and his court case,” he said.

Mr Phearum added that another reason for convening abroad was to help keep the party’s strategy for the Senate and commune elections of 2012 under wraps.

“It’s one way to keep other parties from spying on us,” he said. “Every other party wants to know the SRP’s strategy.”

Council of Ministers spokesman Phay Siphan said the SRP’s concerns that its strategy would be uncovered if they convened in Cambodia were ungrounded.

“If they flew to [Manila] to meet their president that’s their own business,” he said. “The argument that they are afraid of the CPP or other parties spying, it looks inconvincible.”

Mr Rainsy was sentenced in two cases last year to a total of 12 years’ imprisonment for uprooting border posts along the Vietnamese border and spreading misinformation. The Court of Appeal upheld his conviction for uprooting border posts on Oct 13.

Mr Rainsy’s lawyer, Chou Choungy, said he had submitted appeals at the Supreme Court in December and another at the Court of Appeal in September, but added so far the courts had not confirmed receipt of the appeals.

“I didn’t receive any reaction from both courts,” he said, adding, “I don’t know why the court still delay the cases.”

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