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On Arrival, Mu Sochua Vows Jail Over Fine

Mu Sochua, an opposition party lawmaker, at Phnom Penh Municipal Airport on Monday.

Opposition lawmaker Mu Sochua arrived in Phnom Penh on Monday prepared for a showdown with the courts in her refusal to pay a fine for defamation charges against the prime minister.

“I’ll go to jail, but I won’t pay a fine,” the Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian told reporters as she arrived at Phnom Penh Municipal Airport.

She has been ordered to pay approximately $2,500 to the courts and $2,000 to Prime Minister Hun Sen following her conviction of defamation last year in a countersuit brought by the premier.

Mu Sochua, who was traveling abroad to attend the premiere of a film on sex trafficking, noted that the judicial system had been quick to condemn her but slow to find justice in other cases.

She pointed to the murders of actress Piseth Pilika and labor activist Chea Vichea and the acid attack of Tat Marina, all of which are cases where senior officials are accused or implicated and none of which has been solved.

Mu Sochua’s case, which came after she sued Hun Sen for defamation in April 2009, was an example of nepotism in courts that don’t represent the populace, she said

Phnom Penh judge Chea Sok Heang confirmed the courts were working on Mu Sochua’s case, but he declined further comment Monday.

Meanwhile, the city’s treasury department has already reported to the courts that it has not received payment from Mu Sochua, a department official said.