On a purely technical and truly legal ground, the charges levied against me by the Cambodian government are totally baseless.
Swiss independent map expert Régis Caloz, a professor at the prestigious Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne who had been consulted on the issue, wrote on March 23, 2010 a detailed technical report showing that I have not “produced” or “falsified” any map and that the conclusions I have reached on the issue of Cambodian farmers losing their lands because of border encroachment, are correct. Professor Caloz’s report has been acknowledged by the Geneva-based Inter-Parliamentary Union and its Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians, and is available to everybody.
Therefore, the charges against me are of a strictly political nature. Only a Kangaroo court can issue the type of verdict we saw today. Everybody, from independent human rights organizations to the UN Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights situation in Cambodia, rightly says that the judiciary in this country is everything but independent, being only a political tool for the authoritarian ruling party to silence any critical voices.
Today’s verdict actually reflects the Vietnamese government’s anger against, and worry about, me because I dared, as a Cambodian member of parliament, defend Cambodian farmers, who are my constituents, against continuous border encroachments by Vietnam.
Following a border incident on October 25, 2009 when I uprooted a fake border post illegally planted on a rice field belonging to a Cambodian farmer in Svay Rieng province, there had been no reaction whatsoever from any Cambodian official or authority. The first public reaction actually came ten days later, on November 4, from Vietnam’s prime minister in person, Mr. Nguyen Tan Dung who officially recommended from Hanoi that the Phnom Penh government punish me.
Today’s verdict is the reflection and the result of that recommendation from a foreign country.
Member of Parliament
(Currently travelling from London to Paris)