Accessibility links

Breaking News

Sam Rainsy Says No Apology on Criminal Charges

Sam Rainsy party supporters greet onlookers at a busy market during an election rally in the capital Phnom Penh, in 2008.

Opposition leader Sam Rainsy says he will not apologize to the government for his stance of the border issue with Vietnam, despite losing a Supreme Court appeal on criminal charges this week.

Political observes say the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold charges against him for uprooting markers near the Vietnamese border means a political solution is the only way to bring him back for 2012 and 2013 elections.

Sam Rainsy remains in exile abroad and faces 12 years in prison on a raft of charges stemming from his contentions that Cambodia is losing land to Vietnamese encroachment.

Political opponents of Prime Minister Hun Sen and his ruling Cambodian People’s Party have received royal pardons in the past, but only at the behest of the premier to the king.

“On the issue of an apology, I do not need to apologize to anyone at all,” Sam Rainsy told VOA Khmer. “In the country, there are only the current Cambodian leaders who need to apologize to the people.”

Sam Rainsy is accused of racial incitement and destruction of property for uprooting border markers in Svay Rieng province in 2009, as well as charges of disinformation for publishing a map on his party’s website he claims shows encroachment. The courts have so far sided with government claims the map is a fabrication.

Sam Rainsy maintains the charges against him are politically motivated, and he remains confident a political solution can be reached. “It is moving forward,” he said.

CPP lawmaker Cheam Yiep told VOA Khmer Sam Rainsy’s return depends on him writing Hun Sen and whether the premier will decide to allow him to come back.

Hun Sen has said in public speeches Sam Rainsy’s cases are matters for the courts.