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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Justice minister added to Chhay’s call sheet

Opposition lawmaker Son Chhay speaks to supporters yesterday at the CNRP headquarters in Phnom Penh during a political forum. Photo supplied
Opposition lawmaker Son Chhay speaks to supporters yesterday at the CNRP headquarters in Phnom Penh during a political forum. Photo supplied

Justice minister added to Chhay’s call sheet

Cambodia National Rescue Party chief whip Son Chhay yesterday added another minister to the list of officials he plans to summon to the National Assembly, saying he wanted to grill Justice Minister Ang Vong Vathana about the country’s much-maligned justice sector.

Chhay, who on Monday announced the party planned to end an effective boycott of parliament in order to question the ministers of defence, health and agriculture, told supporters at CNRP headquarters he would query Vathana over inconsistent pardons, lengthy sentences and overcrowding in prisons.

On pardons – often granted during public holidays such as the upcoming Pchum Ben break – Chhay said the process, which sees the Justice Ministry propose names of eligible inmates to King Norodom Sihamoni, was driven by money.

“For those who do not have money to bribe, there is no hope,” Chhay said.

A day after visiting imprisoned opposition members in prison, the lawmaker also took aim at overcrowding, noting Prey Sar, built for 1,000 prisoners, held more than 4,000, with 20 prisoners confined to rooms about 3.4 metres wide.

“Let [Vathana] be in prison for one month – will he be happy?” Chhay asked.

Vathana was summoned earlier this year by the CNRP, however the opposition boycotted the session in protest of the arrests of their colleagues. Several party members face cases widely considered political.

On Monday, Chhay said the party hoped to negotiate a solution with the CPP at the parliament.

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