An opposition leader in Cambodia, Sam Rainsy has been sentenced to 5-years in prison for a fake Facebook post.
Rainsy who was sentenced in absentia is accused of posting a fake government pledge to dissolve the Southeast Asian country’s border with Vietnam.
The Phnom Penh Municipal Court found Sam Rainsy and two members of his social media team, Ung Chung Leang and Sathya Sambath, guilty of citing the false 1979 border treaty.
The fake treaty, which was posted on Facebook, purported to show Vietnam and Cambodia agreeing to get rid of their mutual boundary.
The presiding judge Leang Samnath also sentenced Ung Chung Leang and Sathya Sambath to three years, all in absentia.
“The court orders the arrests of Ung Chung Leang, Sathya Sambath and Sam Rainsy to serve these sentences,” Judge Leang Samnath told the court.
There had been tension between Cambodia’s two main political parties, the Cambodian People’s Party of Prime Minister Hun Sen and the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP).
Hun Sen had ruled Cambodia for over 30 years but his grip of power was shaken in 2013 when the opposition CNRP won 55 seats out of 123 in the National Assembly.
However opposition party accused the ruling party of intimidation ahead of the 2018 general election.
Cambodians have been suspicious of their neighbours, Vietnam to the east and Thailand to the northwest: they fear that either of the countries could encroach into Cambodian territory.