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US Embassy Asked to Monitor Witness’ Safety

A congressional committee has requested the US Embassy in Phnom Penh to monitor the safety of several rights and opposition figures, following their testimony in a rights hearing earlier this month.

The Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission formally requested the embassy to monitor the three activists in a Sept. 15 letter, claiming, “dissidents and human rights defenders often face threats and discrimination by the government and government-controlled security forces.”

“The US embassy should represent an island of freedom in a country such as Cambodia,” wrote Frank Wolf, a Republican from Virginia and co-chairman of the commission.

Among those who testified was Mu Sochua, a National Assembly member of the Sam Rainsy Party representing Kampot province, who met with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton last week. Mu Sochua was fined $4,500 after losing a defamation suit brought against her by Prime Minister Hun Sen.

“I really want the US to pay attention to other victims who are suffering from the court system,” Mu Sochua told VOA Khmer after the meeting.