Phnom Penh Municipal Court yesterday continued to investigate treason allegations levelled against former opposition leader Sam Rainsy despite his absence after being summoned to appear for questioning by a prosecutor.
The Interior Ministry’s Counter-Terrorism Department earlier filed a lawsuit against Mr Rainsy, who allegedly agreed to cede four northeastern provinces to Vietnam’s Montagnards if he won the 2013 election.
Deputy prosecutor Sieng Sok said yesterday that even though Mr Rainsy did not come to the court to answer questions related to the lawsuit, procedures continued.
“We will continue the procedure on this case,” Mr Sok said, adding that Mr Rainsy did not ask for a lawyer to defend him.
Mr Rainsy has lived in exile since 2015 after being hit with the slew of court cases.
When asked if the case would now be forwarded to an investigating judge, Mr Sok said again that procedures will be followed.
On March 22, Mr Sok summoned Mr Rainsy to appear at the court after he was accused of agreeing to cede four northeastern provinces to Vietnam’s Montagnards.
The lawsuit was filed after Prime Minister Hun Sen on March 14 ordered an investigation into treason accusations against Mr Rainsy.
The case stems from a leaked video on Facebook within a post that included documents dated April, 12, 2013 and bearing the signatures of Mr Rainsy and Kok Ksor, head of a Montagnard association in the United States.
Mongtagnard is a French term referring to a Vietnamese hill tribe, also known as Degar, most of whom are from Christian ethnic minority groups residing in the Vietnam Central Highlands.
Y Sok Khy, director of the Counter-Terrorism Department, declined to comment, while General Khieu Sopheak, spokesman for the Interior Ministry, could not be reached for comment.