>Prince Ranariddh bets on his political future


Monday, January 21, 2008 By Leang Deluxe

Cambodge Soir Hebdo

Translated from French by Luc Sâr

The NRP leader is turning to the Supreme Court, the last legal institution able to annul the sentences handed down to him. The political future of the prince and his participation in the July general election will depend on the Supreme Court verdict.Norodom Ranariddh waited for the very last moment to pursue a new legal avenue. It was on Thursday 17 January, i.e. 5 days prior to the final date, that the prince brought his case to the Supreme Court. He hopes that this jurisdiction will cancel his sentence to 18-month in jail, and $150,000 in fine handed down to him by the Phnom Penh municipal court in 2006. These sentences were also upheld by the Appeal Court in 2007 as well.The judges found him guilty of breach of trust in the affair opposing him to Nhiek Bun Chhay, Funcinpec secretary-general. Nhiek Bun Chhay accused the prince of selling his former party headquarters to his benefit.In the legal procedure, the prince’s request to annul the sentences must be sent to the Appeal Court first, which then forward it to the Supreme Court. From there, the Supreme Court has up to six months to decide, starting from the date the complaint is handed over to the court. Nevertheless, the NRP hopes a court decision will be made before April, the date when the official candidacy for the general election must be turned over.Muth Chantha, NRP spokesman, sees in this affair, a desire to “prevent the prince from pursuing his political career.” Feeling that this accusation was aimed at the CPP, Cheam Yeap, a CPP MP, reacted by saying: “Our party never get involved in this case.” Nowadays, Norodom Ranariddh lives in exile in Malaysia, while waiting for a hypothetical return to the forefront of the Cambodian political scene.
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