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After violence, Sochua to sue

Three men talk at the Cambodia National Rescue Party’s headquarters in Phnom Penh yesterday.
Three men talk at the Cambodia National Rescue Party’s headquarters in Phnom Penh yesterday after they were injured by municipal security personnel at Freedom Park on Monday. Vireak Mai

After violence, Sochua to sue

Opposition lawmaker-elect Mu Sochua yesterday called for a government official to be dismissed and vowed legal action against him over violence by security guards at Freedom Park.

During a news conference at the Cambodia National Rescue Party’s headquarters in Phnom Penh’s Meanchey district, Sochua accused Daun Penh district deputy governor Sok Penh Vuth of ordering his security guards to attack a peaceful crowd of supporters, journalists and NGO workers on Monday.

“They [security guards] focused on beating people [over the] head, which could cripple or kill . . . I would like to have an administrative penalty issued and I would like the Daun Penh district deputy governor’s title to be suspended,” she said.

Sochua said a lawyer will file charges with the Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Monday while she takes video footage of the attack to the diplomatic corps and European Union.

At least 10 people were injured in the violence, which Sochua said broke out after she was removed from the park. Since the beginning of the month, Sochua has been on a crusade to “bring freedom back to Freedom Park” – where authorities have stopped groups from gathering after breaking up a protest camp there earlier this year. She plans to return today.

At the news conference, victims spoke of the brutality they were subjected to under Penh Vuth’s orders. But City Hall spokesman Long Dimanche defended the security forces.

“We are the public officials, we must enforce the law. If the law permits her to [make an expression], we would permit her to do. If the law does not permit it, we [won’t].”

Vuth could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Meanwhile, the CNRP’s plans to set up a permanent campaign base for approaching council elections in either Freedom Park or Wat Botum were rejected by City Hall yesterday for going against National Election Committee orders that ban permanent campaign bases.

Morn Thalla, chief executive of the committee of the CNRP in Phnom Penh, said the party will file a new request with City Hall today at 9am.

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