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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Mu Sochua offers olive branch to PM Hun Sen over lawsuits

Mu Sochua offers olive branch to PM Hun Sen over lawsuits

Opposition lawmaker insists both parties must drop their defamation cases at the same time.

SAM Rainsy Party lawmaker Mu Sochua has said she will drop her defamation suit against Prime Minister Hun Sen if he does the same.

Mu Sochua said her offer followed a phone-in on Voice of America's Hello show, in which callers had asked her to focus instead on resolving issues of national importance.

"I can see that the people's request is correct," Mu Sochua told the Post Sunday. "Resolving issues such as the country's territorial integrity is more important."

But she said if Hun Sen refused to withdraw his case, then hers would proceed.

"I don't want to win or lose against Samdech Hun Sen, but if we withdraw,we must do it at the same time," she said. "We will do it for the nation and we will all win."

The two are suing each other for defamation after Mu Sochua said Hun Sen had referred to her in derogatory terms during a speech in Kampot. Hun Sen countersued, saying he was not referring to Mu Sochua.

Hun Sen's lawyer, Ky Tech, later announced he would ask the court to request parliament remove Mu Sochua's immunity from prosecution and said he had asked the Cambodian Bar Association to investigate her lawyer for defamation.

Ky Tech said Sunday he would report the offer, but said any decision rested with his client.

"I have no idea whether he will withdraw his case because it has caused him suffering," Ky Tech said. "As his lawyer, my job is just to report the facts."

The president of the Cambodian Centre for Human Rights, Ou Virak, said he would be sorry to see the case dropped.

"I don't believe that this offer follows a request by the people - she is doing it because she is scared," Ou Virak said. "The case should not be withdrawn. Let the court decide it - [Hun Sen] is being sued for just 500 riels. Let it be done properly."

Yang Kim Eng, president of the People's Centre for Development and Peace, said it was good that politicians settled their differences out of court, but felt that in this case intimidation was a significant factor behind the offer.



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