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Supreme Court upholds Rainsy’s defamation conviction

Taing Vida / Khmer Times Share:
Former opposition leader Sam Rainsy. KT/Mai Vireak

The Supreme Court today upheld two lower court verdicts to convict former opposition leader Sam Rainsy of defamation and order him to pay about $1 million to Prime Minister Hun Sen for alleging that the premier bribed pro-government activist Thy Sovantha to attack the opposition.

Mr Rainsy’s accusation stemmed from messages leaked from Ms Sovantha’s Facebook account in November 2017, in which Mr Hun Sen allegedly offered her $1 million to conduct activities against the opposition party.

Presiding Judge Kim Sathavy today rejected Mr Rainsy’s appeal and said the verdicts by the two other courts – the Appeal Court and Phnom Penh Municipal Court – were correct.

Mr Rainsy has faced several lawsuits from Mr Hun Sen and from the president of the National Assembly Heng Samrin for defamation, leading to his exile in France.

Ky Tech, lawyer for Mr Hun Sen, said he would seek an order from Phnom Penh Municipal Court to seize Mr Rainsy’s house in Phnom Penh, which was the now-dissolved CNRP’s headquarters, for compensation.

“Because Mr Rainsy is not in the country, it is hard to demand compensation,” Mr Tech said. “Therefore, I will ask for an order to confiscate his property and see if the court would consider having his house put on auction to compensate my client.”

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