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Opposition Lawmaker To Return from US

Opposition lawmaker Ho Vann, who was recently cleared in a defamation case in Cambodia, prepared to return to Phnom Penh Thursday after spending four months meeting supporters and officials in the US.

Ho Vann had faced a lawsuit by 22 military officials when he questioned certificates awarded by a Vietnamese military academy. He was stripped of his parliamentary immunity by the National Assembly, where he represents the Sam Rainsy Party, in April.

Phnom Penh Municipal Court dropped the charges against him in September, in a surprise decision, while it upheld disinformation charges against the editor of the English-language Cambodia Daily for reporting the allegedly defaming comments.

“I hope that after receiving the verdict I can return to Cambodia safely, and I also appeal to [National Asssembly President] Heng Samrin to give me back the immunity,” Ho Vann told VOA Khmer on his way to the airport in Massachusetts.

Cheam Yiep, a Cambodian People’s Party National Assembly member, said he had not seen a proposal from the Ministry of Justice regarding Ho Vann, but added the courts were going through the process to restore his immunity.