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Assaulted lawmakers appeal compensation

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Opposition lawmaker Nhay Chamroeun is kicked outside the National Assembly in 2015. Photo supplied

Assaulted lawmakers appeal compensation

Lawyers for two former opposition lawmakers who were assaulted by the prime minister’s Bodyguard Unit (BGU) three years ago have filed a complaint with the Supreme Court, demanding higher compensation.

Ket Khy who is defending former Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) lawmakers Nhay Chamroeun and Kong Saphea said on Sunday that the defence team filed the action against the decision handed down by the lower courts.

“The decision was not in line with the compensation the victims demanded. The victims suffered immense damage. We have already argued in court that just the cost for repairing the car was more than $10,000, so the two damaged cars cost more than $20,000."

“But the compensation was only $10,000 for each victim. We demand also expenses for treatment. The compensation the court ordered to offer was not in line with the damage suffered,” he said.

In October 2015, thousands of pro-government protesters gathered in front of the National Assembly to demand that former CNRP leader Kem Sokha be stripped of his position as deputy chairman of the assembly.

After the protest died out, some waited and upon seeing Chamroeun and Saphea attempt to leave the assembly, the remaining protesters dragged the lawmakers out of their cars and severely beat them.

The beatings came a day after the Cambodian diaspora in France protested against Prime Minister Hun Sen who was visiting Paris.

A week later, three suspects from the BGU – Mao Hoeung, 34, Sot Vanny, 45, and Chhay Sarith, 33 – turned themselves in.

They were sentenced in May 2016 to four years in prison, with three years suspended, and ordered to pay 40 million riel ($10,000) to each victim.

In June this year, the Appeal Court upheld the Phnom Penh Municipal Court decision.

Khy said he and his clients were unhappy with the charge and the sentence meted out against the three suspects, but the law only allows the defence team to appeal against the compensation.

“According to law, when a criminal penalty is not in line with the crime, only the prosecutor can file an appeal on the punishment. The civil party can only appeal damages,” he said.

Ky added that a trial date has not been set.

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