The Phnom Penh Municipal Court on April 25 sentenced Sam Rainsy, who led the Party of the same name, in absentia to two years in jail and fined him 2,000 USD for public defamation and inciting discrimination.

The charges were brought under the new criminal code and stem from comments that Sam Rainsy made in a speech on April 17, 2008, saying that the current Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Hor Namhong was formerly the chief of Boeung Trabek prison in the Khmer Rouge regime.

"Sam Rainsy's claims are groundless and incite discrimination against government officials," said the verdict read by the presiding judge, Seng Neang.

"The verdict is just and brings cleanness to my client," the lawyer for Hor Namhong told reporters after the verdict announcement.

In 2010, Sam Rainsy, 60, who is currently living in exile in France , was sentenced in absentia to a total of 12 years in prison for vandalism after he uprooted border markers with Vietnam and for forging public documents and disseminating false information relating to a map of the border between Cambodia and Vietnam . /.