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Former CNRP Lawmaker Allowed to Reopen Clinic After Defecting

Ly Srey Vyna Clinic is located in Tuol Tom Poung district, Phnom Penh, Cambodia. (Courtesy photo)
Ly Srey Vyna Clinic is located in Tuol Tom Poung district, Phnom Penh, Cambodia. (Courtesy photo)

Former Cambodia National Rescue Party lawmaker Ly Srey Vyna, who was recently granted political amnesty, was allowed to reopen her private practice after the Health Ministry shut down the clinic earlier this month.

Ly Srey Vyna runs an eponymous clinic in Phnom Penh, which was ordered to close on November 6 after the death of a patient. On November 9, the doctor, who is part of 118 CNRP officials banned from politics, requested a return to political activity, which was granted by a royal decree.

She had also asked Prime Minister Hun Sen to join the Cambodian People’s Party, which was accepted. Ly Srey Vyna declined to comment when contacted by VOA Khmer on Friday.

Or Vandine, a secretary of state at the Health Ministry, confirmed that the ministry had allowed her clinic to reopen after signing a contract to respect “the guidelines of the Health Ministry.”

The Health Ministry official did not elaborate further on the contents of the contract or specific violations committed by the clinic but rebutted claims that the closure was intended to coerce Ly Srey Vyna to defect to the ruling party.

“It is not a political case,” she said. “It is a technical matter where it was needed to close the clinic and to check thoroughly [the clinic] is providing only primary services in accordance with the contract.”

Ly Srey Vyna was part of 118 senior CNRP officials who were banned from political activity when the party was dissolved in 2017. So far, 14 former CNRP members have requested a return to politics.

Exiled CNRP officials have claimed the clinic closure was an attempt to pressure the former lawmaker to defect and request a return to politics.

Former CNRP deputy president Eng Chhai Eang, who is exiled in the U.S., said the Health Ministry’s decision to close the clinic was an attempt to force Ly Srey Vyna to change her political affiliation.

“The Cambodian People’s Party uses any means to intimidate, threaten, force and arrest people to pressure them to defect,” he said. “It is a political case because it is unavoidable to have a death at any clinic.”

Ruling party Senator Sok Eysan rejected any suggestions that Ly Srey Vyna was coerced into joining the Cambodian People’s Party, adding that her defection was unrelated to the clinic closure.

“She has lost faith in the former opposition party and the illegal rebel group,” he told VOA Khmer last week, referring to former opposition leaders who are exiled overseas.