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Opposition Lawyer Claims Bias in Bar Investigation

An opposition lawyer said Thursday the Cambodian Bar Association should remove one its members from investigating him.

The lawyer, Kong Sam Onn, is involved in a defamation suit against Prime Minister Hun Sen and is under investigation by the bar association for misconduct.

Kong Sam Onn, who is representing opposition lawmaker Mu Sochua in her defamation case against Hun Sen, says the man inspecting him, Hem Voun, works for the prime minister’s attorney.

Hun Sen’s attorney, Ky Tech, is the former head of the bar association. He is representing the prime minster in the defamation case and a countersuit, including a complaint against Kong Sam Onn for a violation of the professional code of conduct.

Hem Voun’s appointment to investigate constitutes a conflict of interest, Kong Sam Onn said Thursday.

The Cambodian Bar Association “cannot ensure a neutral stance in its investigationbecause Hem Voun and Ky Tech are lawyers in the same office of the same lawyer’s club,” he said.

The Cambodian Bar Association appointed Hem Voun and other four lawyers to investigate Kong Sam Onn’s case, following the complaint of Ky Tech.

The bar’s president, Chiv Song Hak, called Kong Sam Onn’s request “really reasonable.”

The Asian Human Rights Commission in May called for the Cambodian Bar Association to adhere a neutral stance in resolving the complaint against Kong Sam Onn.