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Opposition Party Leader Sentenced in Absentia by Phnom Penh Court

The Phnom Penh court has sentenced opposition Sam Rainsy party (SRP) leader in absentia to 18 months imprisonment on charges of defaming Prince Norodom Ranariddh and Prime Minister Hun Sen.

Mr. Sam Rainsy has to pay the two leaders $5,000 each. Prince Ranaridh is the National Assembly president and FUNCINPEC party leader. Phnom Penh court trial judge Chiv Keng announces the sentence Thursday evening for Prince Ranaridh defamation and 18 months imprisonment from the day of Mr. Sam Rainsy detention.

Mr. Sam Rainsy is fined 8 million riels (Cambodian currency) to be put in the national budget on defamation charges according to transitional penal code and must pay $5,000 to Prince Ranaridh.

For Mr. Hun Sen defamation, Mr. Sam Rainsy will serve the sentence by imprisonment for 9 months and pay the same amount of fine as in Prince Ranariddh case.

Mr. Sam Rainsy's lawyer Som Chandina says that this sentence is unfair and he will contact his client for consultation.