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Former bar president back on top

Members of the Bar Association of the Kingdom of Cambodia attend a meeting yesterday in Phnom Penh where Suon Visal was voted back to the position of president. Photo supplied
Members of the Bar Association of the Kingdom of Cambodia attend a meeting yesterday in Phnom Penh where Suon Visal was voted back to the position of president. Photo supplied

Former bar president back on top

Twelve years after being ousted as president of the Bar Association of the Kingdom of Cambodia (BAKC) amid a bitter dispute with the prime minister’s attorney, human rights lawyer Suon Visal has been voted back into the lawyer association’s top position.

Visal, who was previously BAKC’s secretary-general and narrowly lost out in the body’s 2012 vote to outgoing president Bun Honn, yesterday received 622 votes at the election in Phnom Penh, easily beating Chhiv Sambath, who garnered 244.

The recipient of a masters degree from the University of Hong Kong in 2002, the 51-year-old, who was unreachable yesterday, has represented former Khmer Rouge leader Nuon Chea at the Khmer Rouge tribunal.

He was elected president of the bar in 2004, but lost the position after being accused of forging a stamp. The dispute pitted him against Hun Sen’s lawyer Ky Tech, the incumbent president at the time.

The BAKC, which has been accused of supporting the Cambodian People’s Party by the International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute, counts 978 registered attorneys as members.

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