Cambodia opposition leader faces new lawsuit over Vietnam border controversy

(photo: Internet)
Ximena Marinero at 12:47 PM ET,

[JURIST] Cambodian opposition leader Sam Rainsy [party profile; JURIST news archive] was accused in a new lawsuit [Bangkok Post report] filed Friday in the Phnom Penh Municipal Court by the Cambodian government [official website] of forging and then disseminating a false map of the Cambodia-Vietnam border on his political party's website. The map [document, PDF] posted on the Sam Rainsy Party (SRP) website shows an area along the border of the two countries in which Rainsy alleges the Vietnamese government tampered with four border posts, placing them further into Cambodian territory than UN, US Army, Google, and French colonial maps specify. If convicted, Rainsy could be sentenced to 15 years in prison for falsifying documents and an additional three years for posting those documents publicly. Earlier this month, Cambodian authorities admonished Google [Bloomberg report] for maps pertaining to another disputed border area. Rainsy and his political party maintain that the current Cambodian government have enabled Vietnam to encroach on Cambodian territory.
In January, Rainsy and two villagers were convicted [RFA report; JURIST report] in absentia of inciting racial discrimination and intentionally destroying posts demarcating the border between Cambodia and Vietnam last October. Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] called [press release] the closed-door trial of Sam Rainsy and the two villagers a "farce," saying the ruling demonstrates the government's control over the country's judiciary. In 2006, Rainsy received a royal pardon for a 2005 defamation conviction. He is currently self-exiled in France, but remains actively involved [press release] in Cambodian affairs.

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