Namhong Brings Fresh Suit Against Rainsy

Foreign Minister Hor Namhong has filed a fresh lawsuit in France against opposition leader Sam Rainsy over a Facebook post that reiterated claims that Mr. Namhong ran a Khmer Rouge prison camp, according to Mr. Rainsy.

The suit comes more than seven years after Mr. Namhong won a case in the Paris courts over almost identical claims, although the judgement against Mr. Rainsy was later overturned by a higher French court.

A copy of a court summons provided by Mr. Rainsy orders him to attend a hearing on March 7 over the case.

“You are required to personally report to the tribunal, either in person or with legal representation,” it says. “If you fail to appear, the trial shall proceed in your absence.”

The opposition leader said lawyers for himself and Mr. Namhong attended the hearing, and that another was scheduled for May.

“The new lawsuit is related to this post on my Facebook page on November 20, 2015. The new element is the cable from the US embassy in Cambodia,” Mr. Rainsy said in an email.

Kar Savuth, a lawyer for Mr. Namhong, could not be reached on Monday. The French judges handling the case said they could not immediately provide further details.

The post in question came after Mr. Namhong called for Mr. Rainsy to apologize for the claims, which spurred a 2008 lawsuit from Mr. Namhong in Cambodia. A guilty verdict in that case went unenforced until November last year, when the Phnom Penh Municipal Court put out an arrest warrant for Mr. Rainsy, who is now living in exile to avoid the two-year prison sentence.

“It is Hor Namhong who should apologise to the souls and the families of the victims who got killed by the Khmer Rouge at the Boeung Trabek Prison in the late 1970s because he acted as a Kapo and denounced them to their torturers and killers,” Mr. Rainsy wrote in the post.

The opposition leader went on to quote a cable from the U.S. Embassy in Phnom Penh, which was made public by anti-secrecy group Wikileaks in 2011.

“Hor Namhong came back to Cambodia after the Khmer Rouge took over, but was not killed because he was a schoolmate of Ieng Sary,” it said. “He became head of the [Boeung] Trabek camp and he and his wife collaborated in the killing of many prisoners.”

Shortly after Mr. Rainsy cited the cables in his post, Mr. Namhong posted correspondence he had with then-U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton questioning the veracity of the cable’s statements, which he described as a “high defamatory indictment.”

(Additional reporting by Aisha Down)

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