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Cambodia Opposition witch-hunt continues; Sam Rainsy facing "Facebook crime" charges
Thursday 1 December 2016 18:12

Leader of the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP - LI Full Member), Sam Rainsy, and two of his staff members have been charged as accomplices to a crime of forgery and incitement, allegedly committed by CNRP Senator Hong Sok Hour. On 7 November, Senator Hong Sok Hour , was sentenced to seven years in prison by the court after being found guilty of forgery and incitement after posting a border treaty on Sam Rainsy’s Facebook page. 

The border-related document detailing an agreement between Cambodia and Vietnam had been translated from Khmer to English and from English back to Khmer resulting in the verb “redefined’’ being mistranslated to ‘’dissolve’’. After posting the document on August 11 2015, The Senator was accused of forging a government document to incite the public and threaten public order, a reaction seen as another clampdown on democratic opposition in Cambodia.  

On 25 November, the Kangaroo Court in Phnom Penh announced that the self-exiled leader of CNRP, Sam Rainsy and two members of his Facebook team, Ueng Chong Leang and Sombath Satya will be prosecuted as accomplices to Senator Hong Sok Hour.

Sam Rainsy has criticized the decision of the court on his Facebook page, saying that “Facebook pages targeting a vast audience generally have administrators and editors who have the right to post news and views like what Senator Hong Sok Hour did and when the document in question was posted, it was deleted a few hours later”

Sam Rainsy also mentioned that the document had been circulating the internet since March 2013 and the Cambodian authorities only decided to take notice when posted from Mr Rainsy’s page. 

 This is not the first instance of actions taken in Cambodia to clamp down on government opposition.  In December last year, Liberals in the European Parliament led by LI President of Honour, Hans van Baalen MEP, adopted a resolution condemning the clampdown of political rights in Cambodia after Sam Rainsy had been threatened with arrest on charges for which he previously received a royal pardon.

When visiting the LI HQ in January this year, Sam Rainsy expressed deep concerns on the repressions of political freedoms in Cambodia and a broader campaign by the ruliing party to suppress dissent. 

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