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Cambodian Court Orders Exiled Ex-Opposition Leader To Pay $1m For Defamation



A Cambodian court on Friday ordered exiled ex-opposition leader, Sam Rainsy, to pay $1 million in compensation to Cambodian Prime Minister Samdech Techo Hun Sen, in a defamation case.

Hun Sen filed a defamation suit against Sam Rainsy, former President of the now-defunct Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) in January.

The exiled opposition leader had accused the prime minister of giving $1 million to social media celebrity, Thy Sovantha, to attack the then-CNRP.

In the lawsuit, the prime minister demanded a compensation of $1 million from Sam Rainsy.

“After examining document and evidence, the court found Sam Rainsy guilty of defaming Prime Minister Samdech Techo Hun Sen.

“The court ordered him to pay 4 billion riel ($1 million) to the prime minister,’’ Phnom Penh Municipal Court presiding judge, Heng Sokna, read in a verdict after a two-hour hearing.

Hun Sen had warned in February that he would ask the court to freeze Sam Rainsy’s property, including the headquarters of the dissolved CNRP, for auction if he won the case.

Sam Rainsy, 68, has been living in self-imposed exile in France since November 2015 to avoid no less than eight-year-prison sentence for defamation and incitement cases.

On Nov. 16, the country’s Supreme Court dissolved the CNRP after Sam Rainsy’s successor Kem Sokha was arrested on Sept.3.

Sokha had been charged with treason for conspiring with a foreign power in an attempt to overthrow the government.

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