Court rejects Rainsy defamation appeal

Khy Sovuthy / Khmer Times No Comments Share:
Heng Samrin took issue over a video which, his lawyer said, damaged his reputation. KT/Chor Sokunthea

The Supreme Court yesterday upheld two lower court decisions that found former opposition leader Sam Rainsy guilty of defaming National Assembly president Heng Samrin.

Mr Rainsy was sued for defamation by Mr Samrin over a video the CNRP leader posted on Facebook in 2015.

He was last year found guilty by Phnom Penh Municipal Court and ordered to pay about $37,500 to Mr Samrin.

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Supreme Court judge Kim Sathavy said the lower courts had been correct in their assessment of the case.

The video that sparked the complaint was a clip of a speech by former King Norodom Sihanouk in the early 1980s.

Mr Samrin was awarded $37,500. KT/Chor Sokunthea

Underneath the clip were the words: “We remember that the regime born on 7 January 1979 used their tribunal to sentence our late King Norodom Sihanouk to death by accusing him of being a traitor.”

Ky Tech, Mr Samrin’s lawyer, said the claim below the video clip damaged his client’s reputation and that of the ruling CPP.

Mr Rainsy’s lawyer appealed the municipal court’s decision, but the Appeal Court upheld the conviction at the end of last year, so he appealed again.

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Sam Sokong, Mr Rainsy’s lawyer, said his client had wanted the Supreme Court to delay the latest trial on the matter, but officials refused.

“The Supreme Court upheld the Appeal Court’s decision. We cannot accept it,” Mr Sokong said. “We will review the verdict. If we find mistakes, we will appeal to review the case again.”

Mr Sokong added that Mr Rainsy was still involved with several other court cases, including a defamation complaint filed by Som Soeun, a high-ranking CPP official in charge of Prime Minister Hun Sen’s social media outreach.

Mr Soeun said last year that Mr Rainsy’s Facebook page carried a post that wrongly claimed he instructed officials, supporters, networks, civil servants, police and soldiers to create fake accounts to provide fake likes on the prime minister’s Facebook page.

CPP spokesman Sok Eysan said Mr Rainsy was a convict who failed to recognise his crimes.

“Mr Rainsy is a cheap person and a slave to foreign masters,” he said.

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