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Rainsy accuses HRP of trying to ‘break’ SRP

April 20, 2011 Leave a comment
Opposition leader Sam Rainsy has accused the Human Rights Party of
trying to “break” his own Sam Rainsy Party and steal its members, even
as the two parties remain in talks about a potential merger.

In
a letter dated Monday, HRP president Kem Sokha wrote to Sam Rainsy to
inquire about the terms of such a merger, which has been under
discussion for months.

Kem Sokha asked whether Sam Rainsy
supported an option entailing the merger of the HRP and SRP under a new
banner, or a second option in which the SRP would subsume the HRP.

“We
support the first option and see that this is an opportunity for a
union of patriots and democrats to arrange a democratic movement for
change,” Kem Sokha wrote.

In response, however, Sam Rainsy wrote
in a letter to his own supporters that the HRP was using the same
“tricks” employed by the ruling Cambodian People’s Party to undermine
the SRP and induce defections.

Sam Rainsy has lived abroad since
2009 to avoid a lengthy jail term handed down against him last year in
connection with a protest he staged along the Kingdom’s eastern border
against alleged Vietnamese
encroachment. In recent weeks, Kem
Sokha has appealed for SRP members to join the HRP, declaring last
month that “the HRP will become the biggest opposition party in
Cambodia if Sam Rainsy cannot return”.

Such rhetoric, Sam Rainsy said in his letter, is counterproductive in the face of the parties’ merger talks.

“Before
choosing any FORMULA for a union, we must first show the required
SPIRIT for a genuine and sincere union,” Sam Rainsy wrote.

“In
fact, by adopting the CPP’s attitude toward us, the HRP is – willingly
or not – serving the CPP interest and they have become a CPP de facto
ally, at a time when the SRP is the main target for the CPP in the face
of very serious national problems.”

In the 2008 national
elections, the SRP won 26 seats while the HRP netted just three. Both
opposition parties were dwarfed by the ruling party, which won 90 seats
in parliament and serves as an effective rubber stamp for Prime
Minister Hun Sen.

During a visit to the Kingdom last year,
United States secretary of state Hillary Clinton encouraged the SRP and
HRP to put aside their differences and form a united opposition against
the ruling party.

Categories: Local News, Politic, Sam Rainsy

Opposition Leader Sam Rainsy brands CPP ‘new KR’

April 19, 2011 Leave a comment
Opposition leader Sam Rainsy branded ruling party officials including
Prime Minister Hun Sen “a new generation of the Khmer Rouge” during a
ceremony yesterday at the killing fields of Choeung Ek.

Photo by: Pha Lina

Children attend a
ceremony yesterday at the killing fields of Choeung Ek organised by the
Sam Rainsy Party to commemorate the anniversary of the fall of Phnom
Penh in 1975.

Organised
on the anniversary of the fall of Phnom Penh to Khmer Rouge forces in
1975, the ceremony drew roughly 200 observers and Sam Rainsy Party
supporters. Sam Rainsy himself remains abroad to avoid
a slew of
criminal complaints against him, though he spoke to those in attendance
yesterday via videoconference from France, offering provacative
criticism of the ruling Cambodian People’s Party.

“The new
generation of Khmer Rouge, puppets of Vietnam, have killed people
little by little, backed by Vietnam,” Sam Rainsy said. “Both Pol Pot
and Hun Sen have always celebrated April 17 because they regard it as
their victory day.”

The comments recall an address Sam Rainsy
made at Choeung Ek in 2008 alleging that Foreign Minister Hor Namhong
headed the Boeung Trabek prison under the Khmer Rouge. The foreign
minister sued Sam Rainsy for defamation in relation the comments, with
hearings in the case taking place at Phnom Penh Municipal Court earlier
this month despite the absence of Sam Rainsy and his lawyer.

Sam
Rainsy already faces a total of 12 years in prison following a pair of
convictions last year in relation to a protest he staged along the
Kingdom’s eastern border in 2009 against alleged Vietnamese
encroachment. He fled the country shortly following this protest to
avoid the case pending against him.

Acting SRP president Kong
Korm echoed Sam Rainsy’s comments at the ceremony yesterday, saying
Cambodia’s war crimes tribunal had prosecuted just “one group” of Khmer
Rouge leaders, but that “the Khmer Rouge group supported by Vietnam has
been acquitted”.

“I have seen that land evictions these days are not different from in the Khmer Rouge regime,” Kong Korm said.

Senior
ruling party lawmaker Cheam Yeap dismissed the SRP comments yesterday
and warned that Sam Rainsy could face additional legal action for his
criticisms of Hun Sen, Senate President Chea Sim and National Assembly
President Heng Samrin, all of whom hold the “Samdech” honourific.

“If
the three Samdechs just wink at their lawyers, the lawyers can file
complaints and Sam Rainsy can receive another jail sentence,” Cheam
Yeap said.

“I know that at this point, Sam Rainsy has no hope
of returning to his homeland, so that’s why he raises these issues
again and again.”

 
Categories: Local News, Politic, Sam Rainsy

Rainsy appeal scheduled

April 12, 2011 Leave a comment
AN appeal of Sam Rainsy’s 10-year jail term for disinformation and
falsifying public documents will be heard next month, as the opposition
leader continues his self-exile to avoid the charges against him.

Opposition leader Sam Rainsy meets with United States Ambassador Carol Rodley in 2009. Photo by: Heng Chivoan

Appeal Court prosecutor Ouk Savuth has issued a summons asking Sam Rainsy to appear on May 10 in relation to the case.

In
September, Sam Rainsy was found guilty of the charges by the Phnom Penh
Municipal Court and sentenced in absentia to 10 years in jail, which
followed a two-year jail term handed down against him by the Svay Rieng
provincial court last January.

Sam Rainsy’s conviction in Svay
Rieng came in connection with a 2009 protest he staged at the Kingdom’s
eastern border to decry alleged Vietnamese land encroachment. Following
this conviction, he published maps online and held a series of
video-conferences from abroad in an attempt to vindicate his border
claims, earning the new round of charges for which he was convicted in
September.

Choung Choungy, Sam Rainsy’s lawyer, said yesterday
that he was prepared to represent the opposition leader, but was unsure
whether Sam Rainsy still wanted to pursue the case.

Government lawyer Ky Tech declined to comment at length but confirmed that he would attend the hearing next month.

Meanwhile,
the verdict in a defamation case brought against Sam Rainsy by Foreign
Minister Hor Namhong scheduled to be released yesterday has been pushed
back to April 25, a court clerk said yesterday.

The case
relates to comments Sam Rainsy made in 2008 alleging that Hor Namhong
headed the Boeung Trabek prison under the Khmer Rouge.

 
Categories: Local News, Politic, Sam Rainsy

Hearing in new Rainsy case

April 7, 2011 Leave a comment
The Phnom Penh Municipal Court held a hearing yesterday in a defamation
case against opposition leader Sam Rainsy filed by Foreign Minister Hor
Namhong despite the absence of both the accused and his lawyer.
Sam Rainsy speaks in Phnom Penh in January 2009. Photo by: Tracey Shelton
The
charges were brought under the UNTAC criminal code and stem from
comments that Sam Rainsy, president of the eponymous political party,
made on April 17, 2008.

According to the 2008 complaint, Sam
Rainsy alleged that Hor Namhong headed the Boeung Trabek prison under
the Khmer Rouge. Hor Namhong won a similar suit in France in 2008 that
levied a symbolic fine on Sam Rainsy for comments in his autobiography.

At
yesterday’s hearing, judge Seng Neang asked Ek Chheng Huot, the deputy
prosecutor, and Kar Savuth, Hor Namhong’s attorney, whether the court
should go ahead without Sam Rainsy and his counsel. Both advised the
judge to proceed.

Long Visalo, secretary of state at the
Ministry of Foreign Affairs, appeared to testify on behalf of Hor
Namhong, and a court clerk also read testimony from former S-21 prison
chief Kaing Guek Eav on behalf of the foreign minister.

Kaing
Guek Eav, better known as Duch, last year became the first defendant
convicted by the Khmer Rouge tribunal and has been represented there by
Kar Savuth.

If convicted, Sam Rainsy faces fines and up to four years in prison under Articles 62 and 63 of the UNTAC code.

Kar
Savuth argued that witness testimony and the French court ruling proved
Hor Namhong was merely the head of a small group of inmates at the
prison – not the prison chief.

“I would like the court to
convict Sam Rainsy seriously, and demand 10 million riel (US$2,505) for
compensation,” Kar Savuth said yesterday, though he told reporters
outside the court that the most important thing for his client was that
Sam Rainsy be punished.

The embattled opposition leader, who is
currently based in France, has already stacked up 12 years in prison
related to a political stunt opposing alleged Vietnamese encroachment
along the border in 2009.
He was stripped of his parliamentary seat last month as a result of the convictions.

Choung
Choungy, Sam Rainsy’s attorney, declined to comment at length
yesterday, saying his client was “not interested” in the case.

Categories: Local News, Politic, Sam Rainsy

No defence necessary: Sam Rainsy

March 28, 2011 Leave a comment
Opposition leader Sam Rainsy
Opposition leader Sam Rainsy said yesterday he will not ask his lawyer
to defend him against charges of defamation and disinformation brought
by Minister of Foreign Affairs Hor Namhong, in a case stemming from a
2008 complaint that the Phnom Penh Municipal Court announced last week
it would hear on April 5.

Sam Rainsy, president of the eponymous
political party, said yesterday he would not ask his lawyer to attend
the trial “because it’s the same case with the same foregone
conclusion”.

“As a matter of legal and judicial principle,
nobody can be condemned twice for the same offence,” Sam Rainsy, who
currently lives in self-exile in Paris, said by email.

The
Municipal Court issued a summons on March 23 ordering Sam Rainsy to
appear in court to face charges brought under Articles 62 and 63 of the
UNTAC code.

In 2008, Hor Namhong filed a defamation lawsuit in
France over a passage of Sam Rainsy’s autobiography, Rooted in Stone,
which alleged that Hor Namhong headed the Boeung Trabek prison during
the Khmer Rouge reign.

Sam Rainsy was fined and last year lost his appeal.

The
Foreign Minister also filed suit in Cambodian courts in 2008 over a
speech by Sam Rainsy that year delivered at the Choeung Ek “killing
fields”, which referenced an alleged relationship between Hor Namhong
and the Khmer Rouge leadership.

Deputy court prosecutor Ek
Chheng Huot declined to comment yesterday and referred questions to
Judge Seng Neang, who could not be reached.

Kar Savuth, Hor Namhong’s lawyer, could not be reached for comment yesterday.

The
latest case against the embattled opposition leader complicates his
appeal for a political settlement that would allow him to return to the
Kingdom ahead of upcoming elections in 2012 and 2013.

Sam Rainsy
faces a pair of jail terms totalling 12 years, handed down last year in
connection with a protest he staged at the Vietnamese border in 2009.
He was stripped of his parliamentary seat this month as a result of the
convictions.

Ou Virak, president of the Cambodian Centre for
Human Rights, said yesterday the charges were “mainly to pile up more
pressure on Sam Rainsy not to return”, but not necessarily an
indication that the government has ruled out a deal.

Sam Rainsy said “inevitable” political change in Cambodia would bring about a resolution.

“A
political solution depends on the political situation. There will
inevitably be an evolution in the political situation in Cambodia as
shown and announced by recent and ongoing developments worldwide
(Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Yemen, Syria, etc),” Sam Rainsy said.

Phnom Penh Post
Categories: Local News, Politic, Sam Rainsy

Cambodia on brink of revolutionary change

March 23, 2011 Leave a comment
Cambodia’s opposition leader in exile, Sam Rainsy, says Cambodia is on the brink of revolutionary change.

PHOTO

Opposition leader Sam Rainsy says democratic changes sweeping the Arab world will be felt in Cambodia. [ABC]

He says the democratic changes sweeping the Arab world will be felt in Cambodia.

“It is not very different from Gaddafi. It is not very different from Mubarak,” he said.

“There are a lot of social injustices in Cambodia – operation, corruption, lack of freedom.”

Mr Sam says this is likely to spell the end of almost 30 years in power for Prime Minister Hun Sen.

Opposition
parliamentarians in Cambodia have asked King Norodom Sihamoni to pardon
Sam Rainsy, who exhausted all appeals against a two-year jail sentence
following a trial which his supporters said was politically-driven.

The opposition leader lives in exile in Paris and heads the party named after him.

ABC Radio Australia News
Categories: Local News, Politic, Sam Rainsy

Cambodia’s Opp leader warns PM Hun Sen change is on its way

March 22, 2011 Leave a comment
Cambodia’s opposition leader in exile, Sam Rainsy,
says conditions are ripe in Cambodia, to make Prime Minister Hun Sen
implement democratic reforms. Speaking to Radio Australia from Paris,
Mr Sam Rainsy, who heads the party that’s named after him, said the
democratic changes sweeping the Arab world will be felt in Cambodia.
Opposition parliamentarians in Cambodia have asked King Norodom
Sihamoni to pardon Mr Rainsy, after he exhausted all appeals against a
two-year jail sentence, following a trial which his supporters said was
politically-driven. But Sam Rainsy says change is in the air.

Presenter: Sen Lam
Speakers: Sam Rainsy, Cambodian Opposition leader in exile; leader of the Sam Rainsy Party

RAINSY: As a matter of principle, we have to go through all the
legal channels, which is why we have called upon the King. But as you
have pointed out, Mr Hun Sen is determined, to preven the King from
giving any amnesty to me. So this is a political problem that requires
a political solution. A political solution can come anytime when the
political situation in Cambodia changes. As in the past, there has
political compromise. When the ruling party and the prime minister Mr
Hun Sen is under pressure, then the prime minister will back off. And
he would allow the King to pardon his political opponents. i think the
political situation will change in the near future. You can see that
the whole world is changing. Dictators who have been in place, for ten,
thirty years, like Mr Hun Sen must fear now, that the population, their
own people want democratic change, want justice. So, after Ben Ali in
Tunisia, after Hosni Mubarak in Egypt, and soon, after Moamar Gaddafi
in Libya, I think there will be pressure on Mr Hun Sen to step down.
Then, the political situation in Cambodia will definitely change.

LAM:
Do you see signs of that pressure building in Cambodia, do you see
signs of a peaceful Jasmine Revolution, if you like, taking place in
Cambodia?

RAINSY: Yes! There are many indications, many
similarities between the situation in North Africa and the situation in
Cambodia. All the ingredients for a change, a deep change, are there in
Cambodia. The Cambodian people have lived under oppression for some
thirty years. It’s a long time, it’s not very different from Gaddafi.
it’s not very different from Mubarak. There are a lot of social
injustices in Cambodia, operation, corruption, lack of freedom.

LAM:
You say the signs are there, but the prime minister Hun Sen just
recently said that he wanted to rule for the next forty years.

RAINSY:
I think Mr Mubarak neither, did not want to step down. And Gaddafi now
doesn’t want to step down. Therefore, it does not depend on the
dictator. It depends on the people. Nobody can deprive a member of
parliament who has been elected by the people, of his parliamentary
seat. I, Sam Rainsy have been elected by the people. Therefore, only
the people can dismiss me from parliament, from the National Assembly.
The ruling party cannot chase the leader of the opposition from
parliament. This is totally undemocratic. This is the sign – the
obvious sign of dictatorship that the Cambodian people will get rid of,
in the near future.

LAM: What sorts of conditions are you looking for? What factors will prompt you to return to Phnom Penh?

RAINSY:
I am looking for the rule of law. The Cambodian government, the ruling
party does not even respect our own law, especially our constitution,
the Supreme Law of the Nation.

Radio Australia