Subscribe Search

Search form

Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - No deal for SRP chief to return

No deal for SRP chief to return

No deal for SRP chief to return

THE head of the Senate has rejected a request from the opposition Sam Rainsy Party that its embattled president be allowed to return to Cambodia under renewed parliamentary immunity.

In a letter, Senate President Chea Sim wrote that the body’s hands were tied due to the Kingdom’s constitutional separation of powers.

“The Senate will not be able to intervene with the government in order to drop the complaints … because the complaints against HE Sam Rainsy are under the jurisdiction of the judiciary, which is separate from the legislative branch and executive branch,” said the letter, addressed to the SRP’s Acting President, Kong Korm.

Chea Sim’s letter, dated Friday, came in response to a request from Kong Korm on September 11, which said the Senate had a “duty” to try to broker a political compromise that would pave the way for Sam Rainsy’s return.

The SRP leader, who is in self-imposed exile in Europe, was sentenced to two years in jail after an incident in October last year in which he helped villagers uproot wooden demarcation poles near the Vietnamese border.

A verdict on two more charges – brought against him after he released maps showing what he claims are Vietnamese territorial encroachments – is set to be handed down at Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Thursday.

Yesterday, Sam Rainsy issued an appeal to “parliamentarians of all countries”, saying that his only crime was an “unyielding denunciation of corruption and human rights abuses” and an “unwavering defence of the people who have elected me as their representative”.

Senate Secretary General Oum Sarith declined to comment yesterday, but Council of Ministers spokesman Phay Siphan said that wiping away Sam Rainsy’s charges would set a “bad precedent” for Cambodia, despite the use of such arrangements in the past.

“Sam Rainsy wants to make a wave as a celebrity in the media, but he has to take the time to show that he has principles,” he said.

Hang Chhaya, executive director of the Khmer Institute for Democracy, said that unlike earlier cases, where Sam Rainsy’s spats with the government were resolved through compromises, officials were showing “no real urgency” to broker his return.

“I hope there will be some sign of resolution and Sam Rainsy will be able to come back,” he said. “I hope the issue can be resolved quickly.”

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY VONG SOKHENG

RECOMMENDED STORIES

  • Thy Sovantha threatens new suit

    Social media celebrity and card-carrying CPP member Thy Sovantha yesterday said she will file a lawsuit against wildlife NGO head Suwanna Gauntlett alleging discrimination after the latter allegedly denied her access to an ecotourism program the group is launching today in Koh Kong province. The

  • Police raid Siem Reap party, arrest 10 foreigners over ‘pornographic’ images

    A group of 10 foreign tourists appeared in court today after being arrested for producing “pornographic” photos in Siem Reap town on Thursday, while dozens more were detained temporarily and let go after being lectured on their behaviour, according to authorities. A report posted to the

  • Hun Sen’s in-law removed from RCAF after cockfighting rings raided

    Thai Phany, the nephew-in-law of Prime Minister Hun Sen who is accused of running two large cockfighting rings, has been removed as a general in the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces. Phany, formerly a one-star brigadier general, was removed by royal decree on December 19, according to

  • Government approves plan to relocate Phnom Penh’s airport

    The government has signed off on a proposal to build a new airport to serve Phnom Penh and has earmarked land in Kandal province for the $1.5 billion project. A new international airport to replace the existing Phnom Penh International Airport will be constructed on partially