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Union leader offers to pay in Mu Sochua case

UNION leader Chea Mony has offered to pay 16.5 million riels (around US$3,928) in fines and compensation on behalf of opposition lawmaker Mu Sochua, who was ordered to furnish the sum after being convicted of defaming Prime Minister Hun Sen last year.

Chea Mony, president of the Free Trade Union of Workers of the Kingdom of Cambodia, said Tuesday that he was collecting donations to cover the payment, 8.5 million riels of which is due Thursday.

“We do not want to lose [Mu Sochua] from government or the National Assembly because she is a very good woman,” he said.

On June 17, the National Treasury wrote to Mu Sochua informing her that a payment of 8.5 million riels must be made within two weeks, or by July 1. Government officials have warned that Mu Sochua could face prison if she does not pay on time.

But the Kampot parliamentarian, who was first convicted of defamation last August, repeated that she would prefer to go to jail than to admit guilt, and that she did not want anybody to pay on her behalf.

“Firstly, I will not pay. Secondly, my conscience will not allow anyone to pay on my behalf,” she said by phone from Manila. “If I was afraid of this, I would not have sued Prime Minister Hun Sen.”

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