Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Court hears Rainsy case, verdicts due on Feb 23

Court hears Rainsy case, verdicts due on Feb 23

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Sam Rainsy – the former president of the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP). Hong Menea

Court hears Rainsy case, verdicts due on Feb 23

The Phnom Penh Municipal Court is scheduled to announce on February 23 its verdicts for Sam Rainsy – the former president of the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) – and eight other former CNRP officials on incitement and plotting charges.

The case stemmed from their alleged attempt to incite military personnel to disobey orders and fomenting an insurrection against the government.

Among those present at the February 10 hearing were defence lawyers Sam Sokong and Kao Seiha, along with lawyers representing the government Kuon Saroeun and Chhit Boravuth, with Duch Sok Sarin as the presiding judge and Seng Heang as the prosecutor.

The hearing was held despite the absence of the accused.

During the hearing, Judge Sarin showed a short video clip of Rainsy speaking at a meeting in the US in September 2019 about his plans to return to Cambodia on November 9 of that year to “arrest” Prime Minister Hun Sen.

In the clip, Rainsy calls on the army to revolt against the “dictatorship” to overthrow the government on behalf of “the people”.

The clip then shows Rainsy trying to persuade Cambodian soldiers to ignore the orders of their senior officers. He calls the military’s leaders corrupt and claims that ordinary soldiers were paid very little so that the top military brass could pocket all their money themselves.

Rainsy then seemingly attempts to entice 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.

“When we have a genuine democracy we will assure that members of our armed forces live prosperous lives and they will be honoured as Cambodia’s heroes,” he said.

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.

After the video clip was played, prosecutor Heang said that anyone who watched the video could only conclude that Rainsy was plotting to topple the Cambodian government.

“I would like to charge these nine persons with an attempt to attack the institutions of the Kingdom of Cambodia, thereby endangering them, and to violate the integrity of the national territory under articles 27 and 451 of the Criminal Code, a crime punishable by imprisonment of 15 to 30 years,” he said.

Speaking for the government, lawyer Boravuth concluded that what Rainsy had said at the US meeting in 2019 was intended to rally his supporters and to gain military support for their planned activities.

“The words from Sam Rainsy’s own mouth show that his intention was to topple the Cambodian government. I request that the court punish all of the accused severely and impose a fine of 200 million riel [$50,000] each,” he said.

Sokong, the defence lawyer for Rainsy and his eight co-defendants, claimed that the meeting in the US was merely political rhetoric and only intended for the other Cambodians who were in attendance at that meeting.

Furthermore, Sokong said, Rainsy was just exercising his right to free expression as stipulated in the Constitution.

“The prosecutor alleges that the speeches made by Sam Rainsy are a coup attempt. But speech without action is just talk. I request that all of my clients be cleared of these charges,” he said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Cambodia to waive quarantine requirements Nov 15, no PCR test required

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has decided to lift all quarantine requirements for fully vaccinated travellers and visitors – both Cambodians and foreign nationals – effective from November 15 onward. In a special message addressed to officials and relevant authorities on November 14, Hun Sen said this policy will enable

  • PM: No more quarantine for vaccinated travellers

    Cambodia is lifting all quarantine requirements for vaccinated inbound travellers entering Cambodia by air, waterway or land border checkpoints effective from November 15. Travellers will be required to take a rapid antigen test on arrival rather than waiting for the results of the lengthier polymerase chain

  • No payment required for travellers taking rapid Covid tests on arrival

    Ministry of Health officials said there would be no payment required for the rapid Covid-19 tests given to travellers who arrive in Cambodia from November 15 onwards after the quarantine requirement is lifted for fully vaccinated people. Health ministry spokeswoman Or Vandine told The Post on

  • General’s gun smuggling ring busted

    The Military Police sent six military officers to court on November 22 to face prosecution for possession of 105 illegal rifles and arms smuggling, while investigators say they are still hunting down additional accomplices. Sao Sokha, deputy commander of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces and commander of

  • More Cambodians studying in US

    The number of Cambodian students studying at US colleges and universities in 2020-21 increased by 14.3 per cent over the previous year despite the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a recent US government report. The 2021 Open Doors report on International Educational Exchange showed that 848 Cambodian students studied

  • 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