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Lawmaker Cites Immunity in Questioning Over 2014 Demonstrations

FILE - Opposition lawmaker Mu Sochua and her colleagues walk out of the Phnom Penh court room after a judge bans them from attending the hearing.

Opposition lawmaker Mu Sochua says she has declined to answer questions from the Phnom Penh Municipal Court over violent demonstrations last July.

The demonstration, in which opposition supporters clashed with security personnel hired by the city, left some 40 people injured. The courts have continued to summon members of the oppsition Cambodia National Rescue Party to answer for the demonstrations.

Mu Sochua was arrested in the wake of the violence, along with a handful of other opposition lawmakers and supporters, and later released, but she told VOA Khmer Monday that she has refused to answer questions from the court, citing her legal parliamentary immunity.

Mu Sochua had led a number of non-violent demonstrations during the political deadlock that followed 2013 elections.

“I didn’t use violence,” she said. “The [Rescue Party] didn’t use violence. So I don’t have any concern.”

She said that she didn’t answer the questions of investigating judge Keo Mony, citing her immunity.

“I maintain my right as a lawmaker, who has immunity, and Article 80, which concerns the procedure to summon for questioning, to defend [myself] by not answering the questions of the investigating judge,” she said. “All questions are related to July 15’s [clash] at Dragon Bridge.”

Keo Mony could not be reached for comment Monday.

Sok Touch, a political analyst, told VOA Khmer that the court is continuing to work through the case, despite political agreements from the ruling Cambodian People’s Party and the Rescue Party. This, he said, was proper procedure.

“If the politicians had agreed with each other and the court ended the cases immediately, how can we find justice in our society?” he said.