A Change of Guard

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Thursday, 23 September 2010

Exiled Cambodian opposition leader given jail term

Angola Press

- Cambodian opposition leader Sam Rainsy (pictured) has been sentenced to 10 years in jail after being found guilty of altering public documents and disinformation.

The government accused Mr Rainsy of manipulating a map to show that Vietnam had encroached on Cambodia's territory.

His party has accused the Cambodian government of ceding territory to its larger and more powerful neighbour.

Mr Rainsy was sentenced in his absence as he has been living in self-imposed exile in France for the past year.

The opposition leader has been spending recent weeks trying to engineer a way of coming back to Cambodia, but now his return seems further away than ever, our correspondent says.

Mr Rainsy is paying a heavy price for his attempts to show that Cambodia is losing land to Vietnam - a sensitive subject, as many Cambodians make no secret of their loathing for all things Vietnamese, he adds.

The two countries officially began demarcating their contentious border in September 2006, in a bid to end decades of territorial disputes.

The following month, he was charged with manipulating a map to show that Vietnam had encroached on Cambodia's territory.

In his defence, Mr Rainsy said he had simply downloaded the document from Google.

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