PHNOM PENH —
A day after their brutal assault by organized protesters, two lawmakers for the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party are being treated in a Bangkok hospital.
Both men were attacked outside the National Assembly building on Monday, pulled from their cars by groups of masked men and beaten, following anti-opposition demonstrations outside the building that morning.
Each spoke to VOA Khmer from the hospital, where they are being treated for serious injuries.
Lawmaker Nhay Chamroeun said he was attacked by an organized group of men wearing red scarves. He suffered a broken nose, broken teeth and broken cheekbone in the attack. “I cannot speak in a clear voice,” he said.
Cambodian opposition CNRP lawmaker Nhay Chamroeun is seen in a wheelchair at Phyathai hospital in Bangkok on Tuesday, October 27, 2015 after being beaten by protesters in Phnom Penh, Cambodia on Monday. (Courtesy of Nhay Chamroeun)
“We cannot leave this issue, such brutal acts that violate the immunity of members of parliament and individual rights,” he said. “We must take legal action. I regret that the human rights in Cambodia has declined so critically, and I can’t accept it.”
Lawmaker Kong Saphea said the attack on him appeared politically motivated but that would not deter him. “I see no personal issues” related to the attack, he said, adding that the Rescue Party and ruling Cambodian People’s Party should discuss the attack and its implications.
Cambodian opposition CNRP lawmaker Kong Saphea is seen in a wheelchair at Phyathai hospital in Bangkok on Tuesday, October 27, 2015 after being beaten by protesters in Phnom Penh, Cambodia on Monday. (Courtesy of Nhay Chamroeun)
“Our parliamentarians have always suffered under the circumstances of the disrespect of human rights and restrictions on their expression as it stipulated in the constitution,” he said. “I would like to send a message to all the leaders to respect human rights, to lead the country by ideals and wisdom. Don’t use violence to lead the country, which discredits the nation and lowers the national image.”
He urged younger Cambodians not to be intimidated by the attacks. “I wish to stress to the nationalists and compatriots that although I’m hurt in my physical body,” he said, “my heart and my ideals will absolutely not be hurt.”