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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - PM's lawyer says he will withdraw suit if Bar punishes Kong Sam Onn

PM's lawyer says he will withdraw suit if Bar punishes Kong Sam Onn

LAWYER Ky Tech, who is representing Prime Minister Hun Sen in his lawsuit against Sam Rainsy Party official Mu Sochua, said he would be willing to drop a separate suit against the opposition lawmaker's own attorney, Kong Sam Onn, if he is thoroughly investigated and punished by the Cambodian Bar Association for misconduct.

"It depends on the Bar's decision," Ky Tech told the Post in the latest twist in a dispute between Hun Sen and Mu Sochua, who have each filed suit accusing the other of defamation.

"I would agree to drop my lawsuit if the Bar found that [Kong Sam Onn] committed a mistake and punished him justly," Ky Tech added.

Kong Sam Onn was accused of defaming the prime minister in comments he made during an April press conference by Ky Tech, who then urged the Bar to suspend him.

While the move was met with criticism from legal experts who said politics were mixing unfairly with the judicial process, the Bar opened an investigation into whether Kong Sam Onn breached the organisation's code of conduct.

Kong Sam Onn's first hearing before a Bar inspection team was postponed Monday after two of the five members failed to show up, with one saying he did not want to participate in the probe because he felt the lawyer had done nothing wrong.

But Ky Tech - a former Bar Association president - said Tuesday the inspectors were obligated to carry out the investigation.

"If Kong Sam Onn committed some fault, but the Bar does not acknowledge this mistake, I will not withdraw my suit against him," Ky Tech said.

At least three of the Bar inspectors appear hesitant to be involved in what they say is a politically charged case, but say they had no choice but

to put Kong Sam Onn under scrutiny, one team member said.

"I cannot escape this work," said Hem Socheat, one of the inspectors who failed to show up for Monday's hearing, adding he did not want to participate in the probe because he felt Kong Sam Onn did nothing wrong.

He said that the other two inspectors agreed with him.



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