Cambodian Prime Minister Samdech Techo Hun Sen on Tuesday vowed to seize the property of self-exiled opposition leader Sam Rainsy, including the party’s headquarters, if he wins a defamation lawsuit.
Hun Sen filed a defamation lawsuit on Jan. 18 against Rainsy, leader of the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), for accusing him of giving 1 million U.S. dollars to social media celebrity Thy Sovantha to attack the CNRP.
The prime minister demanded a compensation of 1 million U.S. dollars from the opposition leader.
“I’m waiting for the verdict to be finalized. This time, I take money. I’m demanding 1 million U.S. dollars,” Hun Sen said during a parliamentary session.
“I heard that the party’s headquarters is registered under Sam Rainsy’s name, so the party’s headquarters will be auctioned,” he said.
The prime minister said that when the verdict is finalized, he will ask the court to freeze Sam Rainsy’s property for auction, and the money would be used to build houses for disabled people.
Rainsy, 67, has been living in exile in France since November 2015 to avoid a two-year imprisonment over defamation charge.
In December 2016, the Phnom Penh Municipal Court also sentenced, in absentia, him to another five years in prison for conspiring to incite chaos in the country through posting fake documents on his Facebook page.
On Tuesday, Hun Sen also proposed that the parliament amend the Law on Political Parties to include a provision that would ban convicts from serving as the president of a political party.
The kingdom’s parliament currently comprises 123 seats, including 68 from the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) and 55 from the CNRP.