A Change of Guard

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Saturday 30 January 2010

Sam Rainsy won't return to Cambodia if two jailed villagers are not released

Photographs showing border post #187 planted deeper inside Cambodian territory, far from the 1979 man-made canal dug by Vietnam to act as a borderline (seen here in the background).

By Khmerization
Source: Radio Free Asia

Mr. Sam Rainsy, the leader of the opposition Sam Rainsy Party, said that he will return to face charge in Cambodia if two villagers are released from jail unconditionally, reports Radio Free Asia.

Mr. Sam Rainsy, who is living in exile in France, was convicted and sentenced on 27th January to two years jail for uprooting 6 temporary wooden border markers from the Khmer-Vietnamese borders on 25th October, 2009.

In a press conference via a video link from France on Thursday, Mr. Rainsy said he won't return to Cambodia if the two villagers are not released. "I will not return back to Cambodia yet. I wish to request for the release of the two who have been jailed, namely Mr. Prom Chea and Mrs. Meas Srey, from the prison first. If I return now I will be arrested (and jailed) as well, so what is the point if all of us are in jail. Who will help whom if all of us are in jail? Now I demand for the release of the two first. After that I will return to let them arrest me", he said.

In the press conference, Mr. Rainsy charged that border pillars #184, $185, #186 and #187 are all planted inside Cambodian territory. He said he had collected all evidences of border encroachments by Vietnam to lodge complaints to the international community and the UN.

Mr. Var Kimhong, chairman of the Cambodian Border Committee, said Mr. Rainsy had fabricated the evidences. "He used fake documents and then accused the Cambodian Border Committee of planting border markers incorrectly. This is true, whether it is done on purpose or unitentional when he pipointed the locations of the 4 border pillars on the map, which is the correct map. I can say that the borderlines are correct, but he had pinpointed the locations of the border pillars incorrectly. I don't know whether he incorrectly pinpointed them intentionally or unintentionally or through sheer ignorant. If he is ignorant he must learn from knowledgeable people and ask the Cambodian Border Committee, but don't ask the foreigners who don't know (the borderlines) clearly", he said.

Mr. Sam Rainsy had used fresh photographs, maps drawn by the French experts, Cambodian official maps deposited at the UN in 1964, Google Earth map and maps drawn by the U.S Army in 1954, with the help of French cartographical experts, to map the locations of the border posts. According to the maps, all the border posts are shown to be located within Cambodian territories.

Mr. Var Kimhong had recently admitted that Vietnam had violated and encroached on Cambodia's borders when it unilaterally made a decision to dig a canal in 1979 to act as a borderline. "One more complicated issue is Vietnam's decision to dig a canal along the borders in 1979 that did not respect the real borderlines drawn on the maps. (Now), the local people who live on both sides of the canal must consider the dike and the canal as the real borderline between the two countries", Mr. Var Kimhong said.

According to the photographs presented by Mr. Sam Rainsy, border pillars #184, #185, #186 and #187 are all located deeper inside Khmer territory far from the canal dug in 1979 that Mr. Var Kimhong was talking about.

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