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Foreign Minister Files Suit Against Opposition

Foreign Minister Hor Namhong filed a complaint in Phnom Penh Municipal Court Tuesday, alleging defamation and dissemination of false information against opposition leader Sam Rainsy.

In an April 17 speech in remembrance of the fall of Phnom Penh, Sam Rainsy said the government still housed former members of the Khmer Rouge, including the Foreign Minister.

“If someone calls me Khmer Rouge, I will be filled with deep pain,” Hor Namhong told journalists Tuesday. “I made the complaints today, one for defamation and the other for the dissemination of false information, because Sam Rainsy was attended by hundreds of people.”

Court officials said Tuesday they had received the complaint, in which Hor Namhong is suing for 10 million riel.

SRP Secretary-General Eng Chhay Ieng said the courts had no ability to judge who was Khmer Rouge cadre or not.

The party was not worried about the case, he said.

The complaint comes just three months before general elections and Sam Rainsy could face a jail term if found guilty.

“We believe that the Cambodian politicians should not choose to lodge a complaint at the moment,” said Ny Chakrya, chief investigator for the rights group Adhoc. “It is better to keep the good atmosphere for elections.”

Hor Namhong said Tuesday that if Sam Rainsy apologized, the minister would withdraw his suit.

Sam Rainsy is currently out of the country.