Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Beaten CNRP lawmakers eye US trip

Beaten CNRP lawmakers eye US trip

CNRP lawmaker Nhay Chamroeun, who suffered injuries including a fractured eye socket in last month's vicious attack outside the National Assembly, seen yesterday after his return from a hospital in Bangkok.
CNRP lawmaker Nhay Chamroeun, who suffered injuries including a fractured eye socket in last month's vicious attack outside the National Assembly, seen yesterday after his return from a hospital in Bangkok. Pha Lina

Beaten CNRP lawmakers eye US trip

Cambodia National Rescue Party lawmakers Nhay Chamroeun and Kong Sakphea, who were viciously beaten outside parliament last month, plan to travel to the US as part of the opposition party’s efforts to drum up diplomatic pressure on Cambodia’s government amid the continuing political crisis.

Since the October 26 attack, tensions between the CNRP and ruling Cambodian People’s Party have soared, peaking on November 13 with the issuance of an arrest warrant for CNRP president Sam Rainsy, who has not stepped foot in the country since.

In an interview at his home yesterday, Chamroeun, who on Tuesday returned from Bangkok where he underwent surgery for a broken arm and fractured eye socket, said continuing pain and complications from his injuries, including numbness in his arm and face, would not deter his work for the CNRP.

“No risk, no change,” said Chamroeun, who also suffered a fractured skull after being set upon by security forces during an anti-government protest on May 5 last year.

Like Rainsy, who is in Strasbourg, France, where a resolution on Cambodia will this morning be debated at the European Parliament, Chamroeun will rally support abroad.

“We plan to first meet with some embassies over here and discuss the situation, then I plan to fly to America first and then Europe to meet supporters in person and the US government,” said Chamroeun, also an American citizen, who fled abroad after being targeted as a founder of the Students for Democracy movement in 1998.

“Without [international support], Cambodia will slip backwards. [Donors] need to do more and use both political and economic pressure.”

Sakphea, speaking by phone, said he would also fly to the US. Suffering a broken nose and ruptured eardrum, Sakphea said he felt “75 per cent” recovered, but still had difficulty hearing. “When I think of the cruel attack, I still feel fear, but if I think of the bigger picture, I’m not frightened. This cruel act was politically motivated and I am not scared, I will still struggle for change at the 2017 and 2018 elections,” he said.

So far, only three people, all soldiers, have been arrested for the assault, which occurred at the tail-end of a thousands-strong pro-CPP rally calling for CNRP deputy Kem Sokha to be removed as assembly first vice president, an ousting carried out days later.

Though Prime Minister Hun Sen used a speech to foreshadow the demonstration, which was also endorsed by the military, he has denied the CPP orchestrated the violence.

In widely circulated video clips of the attack, several men can be seen ripping both parliamentarians from their cars and beating them. “I don’t think they will make any more arrests,” Chamroeun said.

Yesterday, Sok Khemrin, a member of the government-appointed investigation commission probing the beatings, said their work was continuing.

Meanwhile, the EU Parliament is expected today to debate a motion calling for Cambodia’s government to drop the two-year prison term levelled against Rainsy, stemming from a 2011 conviction for defaming Foreign Minister Hor Namhong by alleging that he was responsible for deaths at a Khmer Rouge prison camp.

The motion, posted online yesterday, expresses “deep concern” at the political situation, calls for Rainsy’s reinstatement as a lawmaker and also demands the dismissal of “politically motivated” charges against opposition members and activists. A similar motion has been submitted to the Australian Senate.

MOST VIEWED

  • Capital-Poipet express rail project making headway

    The preliminary results of a feasibility study to upgrade the Phnom Penh-Poipet railway into Cambodia’s first express railway indicate that the project would cost more than $4 billion and would take around four years to complete. The study was carried out by China Road and

  • Thai boxers to join SEA Games’ Kun Khmer event

    The Cambodian SEA Games Organising Committee (CAMSOC) – together with the Kun Khmer International Federation (KKIF) and Khmer Boxing Federation – have achieved a “great success” by including Kun Khmer in the upcoming biennial multi-sports event on its home soil for the first time, said a senior

  • Bullets to bracelets: Siem Reap man makes waste from war wearable

    Jewellery is often made from valuable gemstones like emeralds or diamonds and precious metals like gold or silver, or valueless things like animal horns. But a man in Siem Reap has approached the manufacture of delicate pieces from a different angle. His unique form of

  • Second Hungary business forum set for H2

    Cambodia has asked Hungary to provide GSP- (Generalised System of Preferences) Plus facilities for when the Kingdom sheds its least-developed country (LDC) label, as the two countries prepare to hold a second business forum in the second half (H2) of this year to expand trade

  • 61% of 2022 imports came from just 3 markets

    The three largest exporters to Cambodia – mainland China, Vietnam and Thailand – accounted for 60.94 per cent of the Kingdom’s total merchandise imports last year, at $18.245 billion, which was up 11.99 per cent over 2021, according to the General Department of Customs and Excise. Cambodia’s total imports

  • CPP sets out five primary strategic goals for 2023-28

    The Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) on January 29 concluded its two-day extraordinary congress, setting the party’s priority goals for 2023-2028. The ruling party’s congress was attended by more than 3,000 members from across the Kingdom, including the members of the permanent and central committees,