Monday, December 26, 2016

Exiled Cambodian Opposition Leader Sentenced in Absentia to 5 Years in Prison

Cambodian exiled leader Sam Rainsy was sentenced to five years in prison Tuesday for posting on Facebook a false government promise to dissolve the border Cambodia shares with Vietnam, a highly contentious issue in the country.

The sentence comes after months of strain between the Cambodian People’s Party of Prime Minister Hun Sen and the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP).

Hun Sen has led the Southeast Asian country for more than three decades but his influence was weakened in the 2013 general election when CNRP captured 55 legislative seats, leaving the ruling party with 68 seats in the 123-seat assembly.

Opposition members have accused Hun Sen of intimidating critics before the regional elections next year and a general election in 2018.

Rainsy, along with two members of his social media team, were found guilty of posting a false 1979 border treaty which purported to show Vietnam and Cambodia agreeing to dissolve their mutual boundary.

Border issues have for centuries been worrisome for Cambodia, which has fretted about its much larger neighbors of Vietnam and Thailand encroaching on its territory.

Rainsy and his associates were sentenced in absentia. Rainsy has been living in France since 2015 to avoid arrest over a defamation conviction he says was politically motivated.

In response to the sentence, Rainsy posted on Twitter that the case against him and his associates had been “fabricated” by a “kangaroo court.”

Previous Post
Next Post

post written by: