២៩ ធ្នូ ២០២០ / 29 December 2020 - Article in English (*)
របាយការណ៍ពីវិទ្យុអាស៊ីសេរី (RFA) ជាភាសាអង់គ្លេស ស្តីពីការចោទប្រកាន់លោក សម រង្ស៊ី ទាក់ទងការពិត ដែលត្រូវបានលើកឡើង ជុំវិញមហាក្សត្រទីងមោងសព្វថ្ងៃ។
(*) From Radio Free Asia, 28 December 2020
CAMBODIAN COURT CHARGES ACTING OPPOSITION CHIEF SAM RAINSY UNDER LESE-MAJESTY LAW
A court in Cambodia on Monday charged acting opposition leader Sam Rainsy under the country’s Lèse-majesté law after he called King Norodom Sihamoni a “puppet” for helping to cover up shortcomings in Prime Minister Hun Sen’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Justice Minister Keut Rith issued an injunction on Dec. 25 requesting that the Phnom Penh Municipal Court take “strong measures” against acting Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) President Sam Rainsy for two Facebook posts last week. Court deputy prosecutor Seng Hieng followed up Monday, formally charging the opposition leader, who lives in self-imposed exile in Paris.
The first of the offending posts, titled “Cambodia’s COVID-19 Vaccine Boondoggle” and published on Dec. 20, noted that Hun Sen and his ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) have set about collecting tens of millions of dollars in donations from “tycoons and the business elite,” as well as Sihamoni, to pay for vaccinations.
“The way Hun Sen wants ordinary Cambodians to see it is that Cambodia has a ‘philanthropic party,’ not a ‘welfare state,’ so that if one takes away the CPP, the state collapses,” he wrote, noting that the government regularly tells the public that projects built with foreign aid were provided by the ruling party.
“Come any serious event, the ruling party usually puts on its Janus face: It pleads poverty to foreigners and boasts of its wealth to Cambodians. The message is easily understood: It wants pity and money from foreigners, and fear and respect from locals. And the two are related: It is the money from foreigners that means the CPP can lie about its wealth and prestige.”
However, Sam Rainsy said, the current situation with the coronavirus is different, and “only the credulous believe” that private donations from Cambodia’s elite will be enough to purchase COVID-19 vaccines for more than a tiny percentage of the population.
“Wealthy tycoons, many of whom have earned their money from stealing land and paying workers terrible wages, have been presented as the heroes, racing to the rescue,” he wrote.
“In reality it will be the hard-earned tax money of the Cambodian people that funds the solution, but the provision of COVID-19 vaccines will be done in such a way as to present them as a gift of Hun Sen, the CPP, and its meshed network of wealthy benefactors.”
Sam Rainsy said that Hun Sen had been obliged to announce plans to “repay the generous donors who have been cheated in this affair, including the puppet king,” after the opposition called out his actions.
A follow-up post on Dec. 25 that included a photo of Sam Rainsy and his wife with the late King Norodom Sihanouk and his wife, King Mother Norodom Monineath Sihanouk, Sihamoni’s parents, carried a caption that read, “We only love and respect a dignified King who cares about his country and his people.”
That same day, after the injunction against him was issued to the Phnom Penh Municipal Court, Sam Rainsy wrote on Facebook that Hun Sen had accused him of violating the Lèse-majesté law and directed Justice Minister Keut Rith to take legal action.
He said he has “the right to express my opinion that the current king is a puppet who does exactly what Hun Sen tells him.”
“All Khmer people know, like me, that the current king has never occupied himself with the state of the country and that he has never intervened to defend the common people who are victims of the flagrant injustices committed under the dictatorial regime of Hun Sen,” he said.
“The current king lives quietly in his palace like a parrot in a golden cage, royally fed by Hun Sen using the nation’s budget, and showing no interest in the sufferings of his people. Hun Sen uses the king like a shield to defend his regime with a fig-leaf of legitimacy—which is abhorrent to a patriotic, justice-loving people.”
Clarification: Some of the quotes above are not from me (Sam Rainsy) but from David Hutt's article titled "Cambodia’s COVID-19 Vaccine Boondoggle" published in The Diplomat, 14 December 2020. https://thediplomat.com/.../cambodias-covid-19-vaccine.../