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National Assembly Restores Opposition Lawmakers' Immunities

The National Assembly will vote to restore parliamentary immunities for 3 opposition party legislators next week, an important step toward national unity, democracy and the end of conflict between political leaders, according to the Assembly's meeting agenda.

Opposition Sam Rainsy party's (SRP) leader, Sam Rainsy, was sentenced to 18 years in prison in absentia for defamation charges against the government officials.

Mr. Cheam Channy of SRP was sentenced by military court to 7 years imprisonment for allegedly forming an illegal armed group.

The restoring of parliamentary immunities to the opposition legislators happens after King Norodom Sihamoni issued a royal decree to pardon them on February 5th,, according to Mr. Hun Sen's request, and the Ministry of Justice's letter of release.

According to the National Assembly's meeting agenda on February 28, which VOA Khmer stringer receives Wednesday, the lawmakers will discuss and implement on the validity of the parliamentary immunities for Mr. Sam Rainsy, Mr. Cheam Channy, and Mr. Chea Poch.

Political parties and Cambodia's NGOs' officials welcome this positive decision.

National Assembly's president Prince Norodom Ranariddh says that the Assembly will restore the immunities to the three legislators when it reconvenes at the end of this month.

The head of the National Assembly's legislation committee from the Cambodian People's Party (CPP) Ek Sam Ol, calls this movement a reflection of democratic multi-parties in Cambodia that is a good development.

SRP's legislator Keo Remy says that the opposition party has the ability to help with the legal aspect in the Assembly and monitoring the government's activities.