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A court in Cambodia on Tuesday sentenced the country's exiled opposition leader to five years in prison after finding him guilty of conspiring to incite chaos by posting misleading documents on his Facebook page.

The conviction by the Phnom Penh Municipal Court is the latest legal problem for Sam Rainsy, head of the Cambodia National Rescue Party. The several cases against him are generally considered part of Prime Minister Hun Sen's strategy to weaken his opponents ahead of local elections next year.

Sam Rainsy was found guilty in absentia of conspiracy to incite chaos and using and falsifying public documents. His Facebook page had reposted from a fellow party member several poorly translated documents suggesting that Hun Sen's government had signed a treaty ceding territory to neighboring Vietnam, Cambodia's traditional enemy.

Two opposition party members who maintained the Facebook page for Sam Rainsy were found guilty of the same charges, and also given five-year prison sentences, but with two years suspended. The two are also in exile.

The original poster of the erroneous material, opposition Sen. Hong Sok Hour, was sentenced last month to seven years in prison.


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