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Hun Sen Nephew Sues Two of Opposition

A nephew of Prime Minister Hun Sen filed suit in Kandal provincial court this week, claiming he had been defamed by remarks of two opposition parliamentary candidates who accused him of assault.

Hun To's suit stems from an altercation on a ferry in Ponhea Leu district, Kandal, in which Sam Rainsy Party candidates Nuon Vuthy and Uch Sereyyuth said Hun To ordered his bodyguards to assault them.

Hun To has denied the accusation, and on Monday he asked the Kandal court to investigate the two men for defamation.

The alleged assault occurred during the campaign to the national election, when the two lawmakers say they were attacked by Hun To's bodyguards after they drove their vehicle off the ferry.

Nuon Vuthy said bodyguards Hun To's bodyguards punched him in the head and kicked Uch Sereyyuth after a confrontation on the ferry.

"If the court works at its procedure and is not under pressure from a powerful man, it would find the truth after it investigates," Nuon Vuthy said.

Kandal court prosecutor Ouk Kimsith confirmed receipt of the complaint.

"I have not taken any measures yet," he said.

He had also received a complaint from the two Sam Rainsy Party lawmakers of the assault and had referred that case to deputy prosecutor Koeurt Vannareth.

Hun To's lawyer, Yin Wengka, said Friday he had filed the complaint Monday.

"These two men defamed my client," he said. "What they said is not true. At that time, no bodyguard went with Hun To. At that time Hun To took one car with three people, traveling to Kampong Cham."

According to Cambodian law, defamation charges do not carry penalties of imprisonment, but do carry fines. Assaults can lead to a sentence of one to five years in prison.