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Courts Attacking Opposition Figures: Lawmaker

The ruling party is politically attacking the opposition through court cases, an opposition lawmaker embroiled in a defamation case by the prime minister said Monday.

Mu Sochua, who represents the Sam Rainsy Party for Kampot province, had her parliamentary immunity suspended by the National Assembly in a June 22 vote.

A second SRP lawmaker, Ho Vann, who is facing a defamation case brought by 22 military officials, also had his immunity suspended in the vote.

Both lawmakers are currently in the US.

“Only parliamentarians of the opposition face the stripping of immunity,” Mu Sochua said Monday, as a guest on “Hello VOA.”

She accused the National Assembly, which is dominated by the ruling Cambodian People’s Party, with 90 of 123 seats, of political bias.

“There was only an analysis based on the self-interest of the party,” she said of the vote. “A democratic people should have equal rights under the law.”

Prime Minister Hun Sen filed suit against Mu Sochua in April after she first sued him in Phnom Penh court, also for defamation, for allegedly degrading remarks made in the run-up to the 2008 general elections.

The court has since dropped Mu Sochua’s suit, but it has continued to pursue Hun Sen’s.

“Where can people have peace?” Mu Sochua said Monday.

The opposition lawmaker is visiting Colorado, in the western United States, and she was asked on the show whether she would return to Cambodia.

“I am a Cambodian member of parliament,” she said. “I received the vote from Cambodians, and my country is Cambodia.”

Mu Sochua said she would face the courts, even though she assumes they are politically influenced, a criticism the courts continually face.

She urged Cambodians to observe how the courts handled her case.