Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Court comes down on Sochua’s side

Court comes down on Sochua’s side

Court comes down on Sochua’s side

The Appeal Court on Friday decided to restore prominent opposition party lawmaker Mu Sochua’s parliamentary immunity, despite it having received a report from Phnom Penh governor Kep Chuktema challenging Sochua’s “social morals”.

The hearing lasted about one hour, during which time she was interrogated by presiding judge Chuon Sunleng about her social morals since 2009, when her immunity was stripped to make way for Prime Minister Hun Sen to countersue her for defamation.

“Did [Sochua] make a disturbance to society under the penal code procedure?” the judge asked her.

The pointed questioning was in relation to a report from Chuktema the judge had received in which the governor said that in January this year, Sochua led opposition Sam Rainsy Party members to “incite 18 women being kept at Prey Speu centre to let them jump over the fence and have three vehicles to bring them out”.

“Mu Sochua always incites people to do any activity that is against the government despite having no immunity,” the judge read from Chuktema’s report.

Sochua challenged the relevance of Chuktema’s report.

“Having no immunity, I am still have a parliamentarian duty to protect my people,” the mother of three said.

“Kep Chuktema’s accusation is his own idea, but under the law I am a parliamentarian and I must act when I see my people have their rights abused.”

Despite the reports, Judge Sunleng decided to restore Sochua’s immunity as long as there was no appeal filed within 30 days.

To contact the reporter on this story: Chhay Channyda at [email protected]

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