Opposition leader Rainsy jailed in absentia


A court in Cambodia has sentenced exiled opposition leader, Sam Rainsy, to 10 years in jail for forging and publishing a false map of the border with Vietnam. Supporters of Rainsy, who lives in self-imposed exile in Europe, claim the conviction is politically motivated. 


The jail sentence for forging public documents and and disseminating false information relates to a map of the border between the two countries which was posted on Rainsy's party website. The map shows that Vietnam is encroaching on Cambodian territory.

Cambodia's premier Hun Sen, has close relations with Vietnam's communist regime, but Rainsy has repeatedly accused the government of ceding land to Vietnam.

Rainsy, a former finance minister, was also fined 850,000 euros and ordered to pay the government compensation of 10.6 million euros.

In January, Rainsy was sentenced to two-years in jail in absentia on a similar charge of uprooting border posts and inciting racial discrimination.

Ou Virak, chief of the Cambodian Centre for Human Rights, condemned the verdict as a move by the ruling CPP party to stop Sam Rainsy from coming back to compete in the upcoming elections due in 2013.

No formal map has been agreed between the two countries. They officially began demarcating their border in September 2006 after decades of territorial disputes stemming from French colonial times.

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