Today’s Rainsy Appeal Hearing Closed to Public

SRP head seeks to overturn ruling rejecting review of border-encroachment evidence

The Court of Appeal is due to hear an appeal today from SRP president Sam Rainsy, who is seeking to overturn a ruling by the Phnom Penh Municipal Court, which re­jected his request to form a committee to review opposition party evidence of border encroachment by Vietnam, Mr Rainsy’s law­yer said.

“I have received an invitation to attend the hearing [today]. My cli­ent has asked me to appeal against the municipal court’s decision,” law­yer Chou Choungy said yesterday.

The government on Feb 26 lodged a complaint against Mr Rainsy, accusing him of spreading disinformation and disseminating false documents in his attempts to prove Vietnamese encroachment on Cambodia’s eastern border.

Af­ter Mr Rainsy was charged with the alleged crimes March 12, Mr Choungy in April called on the Phnom Penh Municipal Court to establish a committee to review the SRP’s evidence of encroachment.

“If my client loses at the Appeal Court, I will go to the Supreme Court,” Mr Choungy said.

Judge Chuon Sunleng said the law allowed for the hearing today to be held in camera.

“The…hearing will not be open to the public,” the judge said, declining to give a reason.

By law, court hearings are to be held in public, with permissible ex­ceptions to protect public order or morality.

Mr Choungy said that while not against the law, closed-door hearings did not paint a very fair picture.

“A nonpublic hearing is not wrong, but it does not convey good sportsmanship to conduct the trial in this manner,” he said.

“The government always does things in a secret manner. This is a political issue,” SRP spokesman Yim Sovann said.

In a separate case, the Court of Appeal on July 6 is to hear an ap­peal by Mr Rainsy against his Jan­uary conviction for incitement and damaging property in the uprooting of border demarcation posts in Svay Rieng province in October, Mr Choungy said.


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