Svay Rieng provincial court has issued a summons to opposition leader Sam Rainsy, who is facing charges for allegedly leading a group of villagers to pull up demarcation posts near the Vietnam border in October.
Sam Rainsy has been asked to appear on Dec. 28, according to a summons issued Wednesday and obtained by VOA Khmer.
Sam Rainsy, who has rejected the case as politically motivated, had his parliamentary immunity suspended by the National Assembly in November, paving the way for investigations into the allegations by provincial court officials.
“I issued a summons yesterday,” investigating judge Long Kesphirom told VOA Khmer Thursday. He declined to give more details.
Reached by phone in France, Sam Rainsy told VOA Khmer he had not been given a chance to defend himself, and that he was meeting with villagers as their parliamentary representative when they complained of Vietnamese incursion onto their land.
“But it was not so, and now the authorities have issued a complaint against me instead,” he said. “They can do whatever they want. I don’t care, because the court works for the powerful and the ruling party, and not for the national interest.”
The court case and suspension of his immunity have been criticized as a wider government effort to crack down on dissent, following the jailing of an opposition-aligned journalist earlier this year and a defamation suit brought against Mu Sochua, an SRP representative for Kampot province, by Prime Minister Hun Sen, in April.