Kandal provincial court has ordered an opposition lawmaker to remain in the country, though it will not detain him while he undergoes an investigation into whether he helped a fellow Sam Rainsy Party member escape detention last year.
Chan Cheng is accused of helping Meas Peng flee detention after Meas Peng was accused of incitement during land protests in Kandal.
Chan Cheng, who lost his parliamentary immunity in November 2011, has denied he was helping Meas Peng flee detention, but maintains that Meas Peng was being held extrajudicially. SRP members say the case against him is politically motivated, as the country heads toward local elections in June.
Kandal court judge Sin Vireak told reporters the court will not detain Chan Cheng, but he must remain in Cambodia and report any change of address. Chan Cheng must also abide by court summonses, the judge said.
Meas Peng, a deputy commune chief in the province, is charged with inciting violence against a local administrator embroiled in a land dispute. He was questioned last year. Court officials say they ordered his detention, but lawyers for Chan Cheng maintain there was no official order to hold him before Chan Cheng helped him leave the facility and return home.
Chan Cheng and his attorney declined to comment on Tuesday.
SRP spokesman Yim Sovann said the court should drop charges against Chan Cheng and his former attorney, Chhoung Chu Ngy.
“Neither the lawyer nor the member of parliament are criminal,” he said. “Their duty was to help villagers by showing irregularities” in the land case.