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Opposition Leader’s Immunity Restored

Opposition leader Sam Rainsy on Tuesday saw his parliamentary immunity restored, after he paid around $2,500 in outstanding election-period fines.

The National Assembly’s Permanent Committee voted to restore his protective status, which had been revoked since Feb. 26 following his refusal to pay fines stemming from allegedly disparaging remarks about ruling party leaders during 2008 election campaigning.

Opposition lawmaker Son Chhay welcomed the decision, calling it a “correction” of the committee’s earlier decision, “which they should not do again in the future.”

Opposition leaders had said the revoking of immunity by Permanent Committee was unconstitutional, a position rejected by lawmakers of the ruling Cambodian People’s Party.

“What the opposition raised seems to look down on the 12 members of the committee,” said CPP lawmaker Cheam Yiep, who is a member of the Permanent Committee. “I have been a member of parliament for a long time and have enough experience and competence.”