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Thursday, March 30, 2017

Cambodia: Exile convicted for blaming killing on PM

Cambodia: Exile convicted for blaming killing on PM
The exiled former chief of the Cambodian opposition party Sam Rainsy

Cambodia: Exile convicted for blaming killing on PM

To avoid a previous defamation sentence, ex-opposition leader Sam Rainsy has been in exile since 2015
Anadolu Agency | 30 March 2017

The exiled former chief of the Cambodian opposition party was convicted of yet another defamation and incitement charge Thursday after he accused the prime minister, Hun Sen, of having orchestrated an assassination against a prominent government critic.
The sentencing of Sam Rainsy, co-founder of the Cambodia National Rescue Party, coincided with the 20th anniversary of a grenade attack on a rally he was leading when he was still heading his former political party. He was badly injured along with 150 other people. Sixteen were killed.
Rainsy, who went into exile in late 2015 to avoid a separate defamation prison term, was sentenced in absentia by the Phnom Penh Municipal Court to 20 months in prison for alleging that the government was behind the July 2016 murder of Kem Ley, whose killer was jailed for life last week.
In the wake of that conviction, there were calls from legal and civil society groups for the case into Ley’s murder to be reopened and subject to a new, transparent, and thorough investigation.
Rainsy has been powerless to challenge the many cases that have piled up against him since he fled the country, many of them based on defamation allegations. He stepped down as leader of the CNRP last month to try and save his party after the government passed changes enabling the Interior Ministry to dissolve parties led by people with criminal convictions.
On Thursday afternoon, he took to Twitter, posting, in an apparent response to the conviction, a photo of Kem Ley and one of the grenade attack memorial, which he has always insisted was carried out on the orders of Hun Sen.
“In 2017 as in 1997, the real culprits are still walking free,” he wrote. “[The] culture of impunity in Cambodia must end.”

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