A COURT in France cleared veteran Cambodian opposition figure Sam Rainsy (pic) of all charges in defamation cases brought by the prime minister and a top police official of his home country.
Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen and his son-in-law and deputy national police chief, Dy Vichea, had filed complaints against France-based Rainsy, 73, over Facebook posts dating back to 2019.
Hun Sen contested Rainsy’s allegation that he was behind the 2008 death in a helicopter crash of national police chief Hok Lundy, who was Dy Vichea’s father.
The leader of Cambodia’s government “decided to murder Hok Lundy because he knew too much about Hun Sen’s misdeeds”, Rainsy claimed on Facebook.
He spent years fighting Hun Sen – who has ruled for the past 37 years – before seeking refuge in 2015 in France, where he is a dual national.
Rainsy welcomed the court’s decision “with great emotion”, his lawyers, Mathias Chichportich and Jessica Finelle, said in a statement on Monday.
“The French judiciary strongly recognises the legitimacy of his action and gives its backing to his freedom of expression,” they said.
During his trial, Rainsy had told the court that in Cambodia “all those who want to tell the truth end up dead, in prison or in exile”.
He called Facebook “my only window of expression”. — AFP