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Mu Sochua Seeks Reinstatement of Parliamentary Immunity

Cambodian parliamentarian and human rights leader Mu Sochua meets with US Secretary of Sate Hillary Clinton during a Vital Voices Global Leadership Awards event in Washington, DC on April 12, 2011.

Phnom Penh Municipal Court authorities refused to accept a letter from opposition lawmaker Mu Sochua Tuesday seeking to have her parliamentary immunity renewed.

Mu Sochua, a representative of the opposition Sam Rainsy Party, had her immunity pulled in 2009, after she filed a defamation suit against Prime Minister Hun Sen, who countersued in return. She was ultimately fined nearly $4,000.

Court officials told her they were too busy to receive her request on Tuesday, Mu Sochua said.

However, ruling party lawmaker Cheam Yiep said the court had a duty to restore her immunity because she had paid the fine mandated by the court.

“The court should report to the National Assembly in order for the Assembly to consider reinstating immunity to Mu Sochua,” he said.

A court official said she lacked documentation enough to accept the request.

“I want to see the public sector, like the courts, work for all the nation…especially for poor people,” Mu Sochua told reporters outside the court.

In her letter to the court, shared with reporters, she said she had paid the fine in full, from reductions in her parliamentary salary.