PHNOM PENH, CAMBODIA —
A leading opposition politician has called on one of Prime Minister Hun Sen’s sons to publicly explain himself after sexual assault allegations circulated on social media.
Last week, numerous videos were published on social media purporting to show messages between Hun Many and a number of women who had allegedly been assaulted by him. Before the videos were posted online, Hun Many’s office released a statement saying that his Facebook pages named Mani Hun and Hun Many had been compromised by hackers. Facebook is Cambodia’s dominant social media platform.
In one of the messages, it appeared that one of the women had been hospitalized after her encounter with Hun Many, who is a lawmaker for Kampong Speu province and president of the Union of Youth Federations of Cambodia.
Since the messages have been published, several of the women have come forward on social media to distance themselves from the allegations.
Mu Sochua, a former lawmaker for Battambang province with the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), which was dissolved by the Supreme Court in November, demanded that Hun Many explain the messages.
“As we have already seen in the hacked video and photos, it was really serious to the point where one lady wanted to commit suicide. Moreover, what I worry about most is those ladies could possibly suffer from acid attacks, or murder, and they never get justice,” Mu Sochua said.
“I am not accusing Hun Many. I am asking him to explain and if he really is innocent, with his power and title, he could create a campaign to protect women who are sexual assault victims,” Mu Sochua added.
When contacted by VOA, Hun Many declined to comment on the leak, instead calling for a face-to-face interview, which must be applied for in writing.
Thida Khus, head of Silaka, a nongovernmental organization dedicated to gender equity, agreed with Mu Sochua’s call for Hun Many to publicly explain the messages.
“Since he is a public figure, he should defend himself and explain it,” Thida Khus said.
Heated political atmosphere
Hun Many is a member of parliament and belongs to the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP), the party of his father, Hun Sen.
The allegations against Hun Many have emerged during campaigning for Cambodia’s Senate election on Sunday, and the run-up to national elections in July.
The dissolution of the CNRP effectively leaves the country as a one-party state after more than 25 years of U.N.-backed democracy-building efforts.
The CPP dominates the government, the military and the judiciary. Many members of the opposition, including Mu Sochua, fled the country in September after CNRP leader Kem Sokha was arrested Sept. 3 and charged with treason for an alleged plot to take power with U.S. help.