Prime Minister Hun Sen said on Tuesday he will not request a royal pardon for Sam Rainsy in the event the opposition leader is found guilty by a provincial court for incitement and destruction of property.
The prime minister has the right to request a pardon by the king of any convicted criminal, according to Cambodian jurisprudence, but Hun Sen said Thursday he would not exercise his right in the case of Sam Rainsy.
“I want to announce that there will be no pardon to Sam Rainsy when the court convicts him,” Hun Sen said in a speech at the inauguration of a section of National Road 1 in Kandal province. “No way to pardon him. Sam Rainsy, if you write a letter to request a pardon from me, this time, I’m sorry, no way. You prepare yourself to face the court.”
Sam Rainsy, who is in France, is facing charges by the Svay Rieng provincial court after he allegedly led villagers to unearth Vietnamese border demarcation posts in Chantrea district in October.
“Absolutely, I will not right a letter to Prime Minister Hun Sen to request a pardon,” Sam Rainsy told VOA Khmer Tuesday.
The provincial court held an arraignment on Dec. 28, but the opposition leader was not present, prompting a warrant for his arrest. Two villagers are being held on similar charges in the incident, while three remaining wanted by authorities.
“Prime Minister Hun Sen should apologize to the Cambodian people because he’s grabbing the land of the people and is arresting the leaders of the people and putting them in jail,” Sam Rainsy said. “I believe that one day Prime Minister Hun Sen will apologize to the people.”