A REPRESENTATIVE from the International Parliamentary Union (IPU) is to attend the trial of Sam Rainsy Party lawmaker Mu Sochua on Friday, during which she will face defamation charges filed by Prime Minister Hun Sen.
The IPU, a worldwide organisation of parliamentarians, has designated Franklin Drilon, a former Philippine Senate president, as its official representative in the case, Mu Sochua told the Post Monday.
Mu Sochua said Monday that Drilon would arrive in Cambodia on Thursday.
"That the IPU is coming to observe us is a show of responsibility in front of our assembly because we are a member of the IPU. They defend all of us when we are under pressure, no matter what party we're in," she said.
Council of Ministers spokesman Phay Siphan said that the government would welcome the presence of Drilon, but he also said the representative should observe the proceedings objectively.
"It is good that the IPU is coming to observe Mu Sochua's case, but it should not attack or speak without a factual basis," he said.
Meanwhile, the Southeast Asian Press Alliance and 11 other groups working for the promotion and protection of free expression in the region have written an open letter to Hun Sen asking that he cease the current crackdown on government critics.
"We ... are gravely concerned by a palpably deteriorating freedom and civil rights environment in Cambodia," said the letter, dated Friday.
"We urge the government of Cambodia to cease this campaign threatening freedom of expression and the fundamental rights of its citizens."