Sam Rainsy misses yet another court date

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Former opposition leader Sam Rainsy. Photo supplied

Former Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) president Sam Rainsy missed a court date again on Thursday after having done so on July 12 as well.

He was due to appear at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court – following a summons served by Investigating Judge Ham Se dated August 16 – to answer charges of insulting King Norodom Sihamoni.

On June 5, a royal letter was released urging Cambodians to vote “without fear of oppression, threat or intimidation from anyone or any political party” at the July 29 polls.

The letter was signed by the King on May 18, five days before Rainsy released a letter urging him not to appeal for people to vote.

Hence, Rainsy questioned the authenticity of the royal letter and alleged that its date had been altered by palace officials to invalidate his.

The exiled former opposition party leader wrote on Facebook on June 6: “King’s letter urging people to go to vote: a forgery or a piece made under duress thus legally worthless”.

That statement – calling the letter “forgery” – was deemed “an insult to the king”, prompting the issuance of charges against Rainsy.

According to a court document, Rainsy allegedly insulted the King on June 6, 7, and 10.

Judge Ham Se said yesterday that he is reviewing more documents and will investigate the case further.

Instead of defending his innocence, Rainsy stood by his claim. In an e-mail sent to The Post yesterday, he wrote: “Hun Sen’s party should have added new elements to their lèse majesté complaint against me because since they lodged their initial complaint many months ago, I have made additional, stronger comments on the role of the King.

“On September 6, I wrote on my Facebook page that the King is being held hostage by Hun Sen and that our monarch has just been repeating what Hun Sen ordered him to say – like a parrot. This is a much more serious allegation than the one related to a possible “fake date” on the royal letter,” he said.