A Cambodian court has sentenced opposition chief Sam Rainsy in absentia to two years’ imprisonment for uprooting border markers on the frontier with Vietnam.

Human rights worker Chheng Sophas, who attended Wednesday’s one-day trial, said the leader of the self-titled Sam Rainsy Party had been found guilty of destruction of public property and inciting people to commit a criminal act. Mr. Sam Rainsy did not attend the trial, and according to his party is in France.

Mr. Sam Rainsy led a group of villagers in pulling out the markers as a way to dramatize his claim that Vietnam is encroaching on Cambodian territory, an issue he often raises to garner political support. The incident occurred in October last year.

Cambodia’s Parliament stripped him of his immunity from prosecution in November.

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