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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Lawmaker’s immunity threatened

Cambodia National Rescue Party parliamentarian Um Sam An (right) attends a press conference at the Council of Ministers earlier this month.
Cambodia National Rescue Party parliamentarian Um Sam An (right) attends a press conference at the Council of Ministers earlier this month. Heng Chivoan

Lawmaker’s immunity threatened

Ruling party lawmaker Chheang Vun yesterday said opposition parliamentarian Um Sam An’s legal immunity could be suspended for criticising National Assembly President Heng Samrin, but refused to specify what law, if any, the Cambodia National Rescue Party member had broken.

Echoing comments made last week, Vun again warned Sam An could face legal repercussions for accusing Samrin of abusing the constitution over his refusal to forward a letter about the contentious Vietnamese border issue to Prime Minister Hun Sen.

Sam An, who made the comments on social media, also threatened to lodge a complaint with the Constitutional Council against Samrin, who argued the July 6 letter, which asked Hun Sen to halt the demarcation process, interfered with the government’s work.

Vun said legal experts for parliament yesterday finished a four-day assessment of Sam An’s remarks and had forwarded their report to Samrin, who would decide whether to take action.

Vun would only say Sam An had “acted wrongly”, and that if found guilty, the opposition lawmaker could be stripped of his immunity from prosecution by the National Assembly’s Permanent Committee.

Vun urged Sam An to meet Samrin and arrange a compromise.

“I speak again and again, I would like to pray not to let this situation fall to that [case],” he said of Sam An facing legal action.

Sam An and observers, however, questioned Vun’s claims, noting that Article 80 of the constitution requires two-thirds of lawmakers to vote to revoke immunity at a full plenary session.

Sam An volunteered to meet Samrin, saying he would like to ask again why his letter was not sent.

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