Phnom Penh (FN), Nov. 14 – On 9 November 2018, Former Cambodian opposition leader Sam Rainsy wrote on Facebook in Khmer language “Does Hun Sen dare to bet with me? On 7 November, Hun Sen says that we will have to wait for “a horse to grow horns” before he frees Kem Sokha. I still believe that under international pressure, Mr. Hun Sen will be forced to release Mr. Sokha in the near future, apparently on 29 December 2018, or at the latest 3 March 2019.”

He added that “If Hun Sen won this bet, he did not have to cut himself as he had promised to stop deforestation. I just asked him to resign his premiership. But if I lose to Hun Sen, I would turn myself in and let the court arrest me and put me in custody together with Kem Sokha […]."

As the topic becomes popular both inside and outside the Kingdom, political commentators analyzed that Sam Rainsy is misleading the international community by using language trick in his bet with Cambodian premier.

They claimed that Sam Rainsy did not write the bet terms in English, only in Khmer.

“Rainsy did not write in English the fact that ‘if he loses, he will walk into jail’. He only wrote in Khmer,” analysts said, adding that Sam Rainsy does not want the international community to know that he will lose the bet to Prime Minister. By doing so, Sam Rainsy will not follow his words “walking into jail.”

The former leader in-exile also accused Prime Minister of violating judicial power when the premier agreed to him terms.

Sam Rainsy told RFA’s Khmer Service that Hun Sen had “fallen into my trap” and revealed himself to be a “dictator who is using the court as a political tool,” according to RFA article published on 11 November.

Ministry of Justice spokesman Kim Santepheap, on 11 November 2018, clearly explained to the public that Prime Minister of Cambodia has the privilege to request for amnesty for the “convict” any time in accordance with Article 77 of Cambodia’s Prison Law, and that it is not interfering with the judicial power.

Article 77 stated that “If necessary, Head of the Royal Government has the privilege to request to His Majesty to grant amnesty to convict any time.”

According to the spokesman, the word “convict” is defined as a person who has been sentenced.

“Exercising the privilege or not is the decision of the Prime Minister and that is not an interference into judicial power,” Santepheap said.

Cambodian Prime Minister’s Hun Sen statement addressing to garment workers in Takeo province recently is quoted as follows: “If not yet sentenced, there is no offenses to be pardoned. Hun Sen has no rights to request to His Majesty to grant an amnesty to an accused or when verdict has yet been released […] I want to send message that wait until the horse grows horns for it the happen.”