Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Another defamation conviction upheld against Cambodian ex-opposition leader Sam Rainsy

Another defamation conviction upheld against Cambodian ex-opposition leader Sam Rainsy

Ex-opposition leader Sam Rainsy speaks about the political situation in Cambodia during a National Press Club forum in Australia in February. Photo supplied
Ex-opposition leader Sam Rainsy speaks about the political situation in Cambodia during a National Press Club forum in Australia in February. Photo supplied

Another defamation conviction upheld against Cambodian ex-opposition leader Sam Rainsy

The Appeal Court on Tuesday upheld yet another conviction against former opposition leader Sam Rainsy, this one for claiming Prime Minister Hun Sen bribed pro-government social media activist Thy Sovantha.

Rainsy made the accusation in France in January of last year, after messages allegedly between the premier and Sovantha, an opposition activist-turned-ruling party darling, were leaked to her Facebook page in November.

The messages dealt with undermining Rainsy’s now-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party, with the prime minister allegedly calling Sovantha “grandchild” and offering her $1 million to fund her activities.

Rainsy was found guilty of defamation in absentia in December, and ordered to pay $1 million to the prime minister.

Presiding Judge In Vannvibol said Rainsy’s post “affected the dignity and reputation of the prime minister locally and overseas”.

The case is one of at least eight currently hanging over the self-exiled political figure since a prior round of pardons in 2013. He has lived abroad to avoid imprisonment since 2015.

In an email, Rainsy derided the “Kangaroo Court” that he said ignored “irrefutable evidence”. Nevertheless, he pledged to appeal the decision to the Supreme Court, for another “opportunity to expose Hun Sen’s wrongdoings”.

He called for the court to investigate the more than 400 leaked messages which he claimed contained personal details that prove their authenticity.

A similar but separate lawsuit has been filed by Sovantha, who has claimed the messages were fabricated and her Facebook page was hacked.

Meanwhile, Rainsy went on an offensive of his own, tweeting demands for Hun Sen to step down or be removed.

Rainsy said the premier could negotiate a “safe exit” or “be forced to step down” by the people and armed forces.

MOST VIEWED

  • Angkor lifetime pass, special Siem Reap travel offers planned

    The Ministry of Tourism plans to introduce a convenient, single lifetime pass for foreign travellers to visit Angkor Archaeological Park and potentially other areas. The move is designed to stimulate tourism to the culturally rich province of Siem Reap as the start of the “Visit

  • ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ meet commences, Taiwan issue possibly on table

    The 55th ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (AMM) and related meetings hosted by Cambodia kicks off in Phnom Penh on August 3, with progress, challenges, and the way forward for the ASEAN Community-building on the table. Issues on Taiwan, sparked by the visit of US House Speaker

  • Pailin longan winery tries to break through to the big time

    Longan aren’t quite as glamorous as some fruits. They don’t have the star-power of mangos or generate the excitement of a pricey seasonal niche fruit like the pungent durian. Unlike bananas or oranges, which are known and loved everywhere, longan remains a decidedly

  • Recap of this year’s ASEAN FM meet and look ahead

    This year’s edition of the ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (AMM) hosted by Cambodia comes against the backdrop of heightened global tensions and increasing rivalry between major powers that have been compared to the animosity of the Cold War era. The following is The Post’

  • Debt restructuring over, time to tackle rising NPL ratio

    The Cambodian banking system has just completed a 26-month debt restructuring exercise where scores of loan accounts were revised, classified and provisioned as the rate of non-performing loans inched up, sparking a slight credit risk unease Implemented in April 2020, the Covid-19 debt restructuring measures came

  • Koh Slaket studio resort brings culture with style

    Davitra (Cambodia) Co Ltd’s multi-million-dollar 13ha Koh Slaket studio-cum-resort just east of the capital was inaugurated in the first phase on August 6, providing national and international tourists with a new travel option and job opportunities for locals. The man-made cultural and scenic lakefront getaway