Self-exiled Cambodian opposition leader sentenced for inciting chaos

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Phnom Penh, Dec 27 (IANS) A Cambodian court on Tuesday sentenced, in absentia, self-exiled opposition leader Sam Rainsy to five years in prison for conspiring to incite chaos in the country through posting fake documents on his Facebook page.

Rainsy, 67, leader of the main opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), was accused of conspiring to falsify a border treaty signed between Cambodia and Vietnam, using the fake treaty and inciting chaos to social security, Xinhua news agency reported.

“After hearing a witness’s testimony, conclusion statements from the prosecutor and the lawyer for the defendants, and thoroughly looking into documents and evidence, the court decides to sentence Sam Rainsy to five years in prison,” said the verdict read by Phnom Penh Municipal Court judge Leang Samnath.

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The court also sentenced, in absentia, Rainsy’s two aides, who maintained his Facebook page, to five years in prison with two years of that suspended on the same charges.

The two aides fled Cambodia to France in August 2015 to avoid arrest.

The court also issued an arrest warrant for Rainsy and his two assistants.

Rainsy has been living in exile in France since November 2015 to avoid a two-year prison sentence over a defamation charge.

The charges against the opposition leader relate to a video posted to his Facebook page that features opposition senator Hong Sok Hour, who was arrested on August 15, 2015, in Phnom Penh, presenting a fake border treaty between Cambodia and Vietnam.

On November 7, the Phnom Penh Municipal Court sentenced Hong Sok Hour to seven years in prison for falsifying the border treaty, using the fake treaty, and inciting chaos to social security.

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He is serving his prison term in Prey Sar Prison on the outskirts of Phnom Penh.



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