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Sam Rainsy Drops Countersuit Against Foreign Minister in Defamation Case

Press Encounter: H.E. Mr. Hor Namhong, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Cambodia, file photo.
PHNOM PENH - Opposition leader Sam Rainsy on Tuesday announced he was withdrawing an appeal in the Cambodian courts in a case brought by Foreign Minister Hor Namhong, who claims he was defamed by a speech Sam Rainsy made in 2008.

Sam Rainsy told VOA Khmer by phone from Bangkok that a French court had already cleared him of defamation charges brought there by Hor Namhong, whom Sam Rainsy said was a cohort of the Khmer Rouge during his time at a prison camp run by the regime. Hor Namhong says he was a prisoner there.

Sam Rainsy said Tuesday it was not worth pursing an appeal in the Cambodian courts, which “can turn white to black.”

A lower Cambodian court found Sam Rainsy libel for defamation, sentencing him to two years in prison and fining him $2,000.

“He does not want to take time with this case,” Sam Rainsy’s lawyer, Choung Chou Ngy, said. “He wants it to end.”

Hor Namhong could not be reached for comment. His lawyer, Kar Savuth, said the withdrawal of the appeal meant an acceptance of the verdict by Phnom Penh Municipal Court.