Cambodia court fines exiled opposition leader $1 million

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia — A court in Cambodia on Friday ordered an exiled opposition leader to pay $1 million for defaming Prime Minister Hun Sen in a Facebook post.

The Phnom Penh Municipal Court found Sam Rainsy guilty of defamation in the latest case against him brought by Hun Sen and his ruling party. Sam Rainsy has been in self-imposed exile since late 2015 to avoid a two-year prison sentence also on charges of criminal defamation.

The conviction comes amid an intense push by Hun Sen's government to neutralize political opponents and silence critics ahead of an election next year. A Supreme Court last month ordered Sam Rainsy's party, the country's only legitimate opposition, to be dissolved on the grounds that it was plotting to overthrow the government.

Kem Sokha, who took over the party, has been detained on treason charges and is awaiting trial.

The government has also intensified restrictions on civil society groups and independent media outlets. The campaign, which means Hun Sen will face no serious challengers in the election, has prompted international condemnation.

The latest case against Sam Rainsy stems from a Facebook post in January in which he accused Hun Sen of offering $1 million to a political operative to attack the opposition. Hun Sen filed a defamation case and demanded 4 billion riel ($1 million) in compensation.

The court also ordered Sam Rainsy to pay another 10 million riel ($2,500) as a fine to the state.

Sam Rainsy is also facing a charge of incitement filed by Cambodia's military last month after he called on soldiers on Facebook not to obey any "dictators" if they are ordered to shoot innocent people.

The U.S. announced last month that it will restrict visas for Cambodians "undermining democracy." The State Department said it was a direct response to "anti-democratic actions" by the Cambodian government but did not disclose which individuals would be affected.

You may also interested in

Cambodian opposition lawmaker flees after arrest...

Oct 4, 2017

A prominent Cambodian opposition lawmaker has fled the country after being warned by government...

Nest of endangered giant softshell turtle found...

Dec 19, 2017

Conservationists have found a nest of the endangered Asian giant softshell turtle on a Mekong River...

Cambodian court denies bail for Australian who...

Jan 30, 2018

Cambodia's Supreme Court rejects a bail application for an Australian filmmaker who was charged...

Cambodia's ruling party claims sweeping win in...

Feb 25, 2018

The ruling party of Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen has claimed a sweeping win in elections for...

Cambodian election body warns against poll...

Apr 9, 2018

Cambodia's National Election Committee has warned that anyone urging voters to boycott the...

Sign up now!

About Us

VNReporter is built to serve the people of Vietnam exclusive reports that best reflect the happenings and achievements in the country. With the rise in the popularity in online news, readers now demand to read quality news in a more modern and easy to read format.

Contact us: sales[at]vnreporter.com

Subscribe Now!