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Court tosses Mu Sochua’s lawsuit

Court tosses Mu Sochua’s lawsuit

SAM Rainsy Party lawmaker Mu Sochua received a citation from the Appeal Court on Wednesday rejecting her defamation lawsuit against Prime Minister Hun Sen.

Mu Sochua’s lawsuit stemmed from an April speech by Hun Sen in which he referred to an unnamed woman as a cheung klang. The term means “strong leg” and is considered derogatory when used to describe women.

The speech prompted Mu Sochua to file a defamation suit, but Hun Sen denied that he had been referring to her and countersued her for defamation. Mu Sochua was found guilty of these charges in August by Phnom Penh Municipal Court and sentenced to pay a total of 16.5 million riels (US$3,963) in fines and compensation. Her appeal of this conviction is scheduled for October 28.

Prosecutor Ouk Savuth wrote in the citation explaining the verdict that the Appeal Court “clearly understood the answers Samdech Hun Sen provided in the first court”, and had thus decided to uphold the verdict in the prime minister’s favour.

Mu Sochua said Wednesday that the verdict against her was a “mockery of justice”.

“There’s no justice before the law. There’s no equality before the law,” she said.

Though the SRP does not believe in steep penalties for defamation and attacks on public figures, she said, her case against Hun Sen is important because of the “gender issue”.

The prime minister’s remarks, she said, were “very demeaning to the value of women as a whole. It’s not about one woman.”

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