Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Rainsy sentenced to 25 years

Rainsy sentenced to 25 years

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Former Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) president Sam Rainsy (centre left) and ex-senior CNRP officials. Sam Rainsy via Facebook

Rainsy sentenced to 25 years

The Phnom Penh municipal court on March 1 sentenced Sam Rainsy, the former leader of the now dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) to 25 years in prison in-absentia. Rainsy has been living in self-exile abroad for several years.

The former-CNRP officials who served as his accomplices each received sentences from 20 to 22 years in prison on charges of committing an “attack liable to endanger the institutions of the Kingdom of Cambodia or violate the integrity of the national territory” under Article 451 of the Criminal Code.

Phnom Penh municipal court spokesman Y Rin told The Post on March 1 that the trial council had handed down a verdict in Rainsy and eight other officials’ cases on the Article 451 charges they were alleged to have committed in Cambodia in 2019.

“Sam Rainsy was sentenced to 25 years in prison. Mu Sochua and Eng Chhay Eang were sentenced to 22 years in prison each. Tioulong Saumura, Men Sothavrin, Ou Chanrith, Ho Vann, Long Ry and Nuth Romduol were sentenced to 20 years in prison each,” he said.

“The verdict was announced with lawyers representing the government present and the accused persons have the right to file an appeal if they do so within the period of time established by law,” he said.

Y Rin added that the accused persons had also been deprived of their citizenship rights definitively, disenfranchised for purposes of voting or standing for office in elections and disqualified from working in the [government] framework as civil service officials. They were also ordered to pay the government compensation of 1,800 million riel.

Som Sokong, the defence lawyer of the nine accused persons could not be reached for comment on March 1.

Government lawyer Koun Saroeun told The Post on March 1 that for an Article 451 offence the law is defines how many years the sentence will be and that the maximum sentence is 30 years. So, the meting out of the sentence in this case was within the statutory guidelines.

“The length of this sentence is more than half of the possible total sentence, but it isn’t the maximum sentence allowed by law. Sentences are established by statute but subject to the discretion of the judge. This sentence is certainly at a level that is under the law’s stipulated maximum for this offence in our criminal code,” he said.

After being notified of his sentence Sam Rainsy took to Facebook, writing in a post that he regarded the court’s ruling as ridiculous.

“This ridiculous verdict reflects the fears of Hun Sen, who wanted to oust Sam Rainsy from the political stage in Cambodia because he knows that if there was a fair election his out-of-date dictatorial regime would come to an end,” Rainsy wrote.

“Whoever is persecuted by these puppet-courts under this dictator’s regime are the ones who are struggling to bring freedom to the nation, truly,” he stated.

Judge Duch Sok Sarin showed a short video clip of Rainsy speaking at a meeting in the US on September 14-15 of 2019 about his plans to return to Cambodia on November 9 of that year to “arrest” Prime Minister Hun Sen despite the fact that the verdicts and sentences for the nine defendants had already been handed down at that point.

The clip shows Rainsy trying to persuade Cambodian soldiers to ignore the orders of their senior officers and not to obey the government but rather instead to – in his words – stand on the side of the citizens.

Rainsy then seemingly attempts to bribe Cambodia’s soldiers, claiming that if they put him in power he would put together a financial assistance package for them funded through donations from abroad.

The clip also has Rainsy calling on all Cambodian migrant workers to prepare to accompany him on November 9, 2019 as he returns to Cambodia via one of the land border crossings with Thailand.

“When we have a genuine democracy we will ensure that members of our armed forces live prosperous lives and they will be honoured as Cambodia’s heroes. All Khmer [people] have to join us in our mission to rescue the nation,” Rainsy says in the video clip.

MOST VIEWED

  • Prince Norodom Ranariddh passes away at 77

    Prince Norodom Ranariddh, the second son of the late King Father Norodom Sihanouk and former First Prime Minister of Cambodia, has passed away in France at the age of 77. “Samdech Krom Preah Norodom Ranariddh has passed away this morning in France just after 9am Paris-time,”

  • Cambodia purchases 4 million Molnupiravir tablets

    Cambodia has arranged for the purchase of four million US-made Molnupiravir pills – enough to treat 100,000 Covid-19 patients – even though the current rate of daily infections in Cambodia remains low. The medicine will be distributed to state hospitals, pharmacies and private clinics, according to the Samdech

  • Rise in planned flights lifts travel hopes

    Six airlines have applied to resume flights in December, while two others have put in for additional flights and routes, according to State Secretariat of Civil Aviation (SSCA) head Mao Havannall on November 29. These account for 43 new weekly domestic and international flights in December, up 16

  • Is Cambodia’s travel sector in for another cheerless holiday season?

    The travel and tourism sector was heaving back to life as borders started to reopen, promising a festive vibe for the holidays and New Year. But Omicron and other Covid-related issues are threatening to close the year on a bleak note ‘Seems [like] Covid-19 won’

  • Cambodia, Thailand to discuss border reopening

    Cambodian authorities from provinces along the Cambodia-Thailand border will meet with Thai counterparts to discuss reopening border checkpoints to facilitate travel, transfer of products and cross-border trade between the two countries. Banteay Meanchey provincial deputy governor Ly Sary said on November 22 that the provincial administration

  • Cambodia planning new border checkpoint at Thma Da

    Cambodia is looking into the possibility of opening a new Thma Da Border Checkpoint with Thailand to boost trade and tourism. The Ministry of Public Works and Transport said on December 4 that Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol led a technical working group