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UPDATED: 09:09, March 18, 2007
Court starts adultery case against Cambodian Prince Ranariddh
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The Phnom Penh Municipal Court has accused Prince Norodom Ranariddh of adultery, on the basis of a lawsuit filed by his wife Princess Maria in February, local media reported on Saturday.

"The court (on Friday) officially accused Prince Ranariddh of adultery with famous royal ballet dancer Ouk Phalla, who has one son with him," the Raksmey Kampuchea Daily newspaper said.

Muth Chanthan, spokesman for the prince's Norodom Ranariddh Party (NRP) told reporters on Saturday that the court is of injustice and if it dares to accuse Ranariddh only through the monogamy law, they must also accuse some top government officials who have many mistresses.

"The court exercises the monogamy law only with prince and wants to terminate his political life," he said.

However, he said, "if we come across the legal procedures, the court can't accuse the prince, because he hasn't lived with Princess Marie for more than a year. The relationship between them should have ended automatically, although they have two sons and one daughter."

In addition, Liv Sovanna, co-lawyer for the prince, said that the case should be solved by royal law, because it is the internal affairs of the royal family members of Cambodia.

"I hope the royal family to solve it through their own law," he said.

The prince and the princess don't have marriage certificate, because in 2001 when the government issued a sub-decree to encourage Cambodian couples to fill in marriage certificates, they didn't do so, he said.

Meanwhile, Ouk Savuth, president of prosecutors of the Phnom Penh Municipal Court, told Xinhua that he refused to comment on it because reporters used to exaggerate his words.

Khieu Kanharith, government spokesman and Information Minister, said that the government and Prime Minister Hun Sen himself can't put hands in the court.

"If they want to complain about the court, they should file their complaint to the Supreme Council of Magistracy, which is presided over by King," he added.

According to the monogamy law, if the court finds prince guilty of adultery, he will be put in jail from one month to one year.

On Tuesday, the court sentenced Prince Ranriddh to 18 months in jail with 150,000 U.S. dollars of compensation for the Funcinpec Party. He was found guilty of breach of trust while he headed the party before October 2006.

The verdict would prevent Ranariddh from running for public office in Cambodia unless he serves at least two-thirds of his jail term or receives a pardon from King Norodom Sihamoni, his half brother.

Ranariddh started to preside Funcinpec in 1992 and was ousted as president in October 2006, for neglecting party affairs and being unable to cooperate with Hun Sen. He then turned to establish NRP, whose members are currently campaigning in the commune councils election.

Source: Xinhua

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