Subscribe Search

Search form

Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Lawmaker fights for immunity

Lawmaker fights for immunity

Lawmaker fights for immunity

Outspoken opposition lawmaker Mu Sochua has demanded a swift restoration of her parliamentary immunity now that her long-running spat with Prime Minister Hun Sen has come to a close.

Mu Sochua’s immunity was suspended in 2009 to allow her prosecution in a defamation case brought by Hun Sen.

Speaking Tuesday, the Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian said she will hold a press conference later this week to demand that her immunity – a right under Cambodia’s Constitution – be restored.

“My immunity was suspended in a hurry by the assembly, so it must be restored in a hurry,” she said.

“My fine was paid by deductions to my salary, so it is time to restore my immunity.”

Mu Sochua’s highly-publicised legal battle with Hun Sen started in April 2009, when she filed a defamation suit against him in relation to comments he made during a speech in Kampot province, in which he allegedly made derogatory comments about a female parliamentarian from that province.

The premier countersued and the court ruled against her, ordering her to pay 16.5 million riel (US$4,084) in fines and compensation to Hun Sen.

Though Mu Sochua refused to pay – saying she was willing to go to jail if necessary – the court issued an order authorising the docking of her salary for four months. The entire 16.5 million riel was eventually paid off in November.

Cheam Yeap, chairman of the National Assembly’s Banking and Finance Committee, said that parliament was willing to restore Mu Sochua’s immunity, but that procedure required that a request come first from the courts.

“The parliament is waiting for the court’s request. When the process ends, the court must inform the parliament to restore the immunity,” he said.

He indicated that as soon as the court makes a request to parliament, the assembly will convene to restore Mu Sochua’s immunity, something which would be possible without holding a vote.

When contacted Tuesday, Chea Sok Heang, the judge in charge of the case, declined to comment in detail, saying only that the court had to wait for a request from Mu Sochua before taking further action.


  • Kak Channthy, Cambodian Space Project frontwoman, killed in crash at 38 [Updated]

    Updated 5:05pm, Tuesday, March 20, 2018 Kak Channthy, frontwoman of popular The Cambodian Space Project, was killed Tuesday morning in a traffic accident in Phnom Penh. She was 38. Channthy, the internationally recognised singer-songwriter also known as “Srey Thy”, was reportedly travelling in a tuk-tuk on the city's

  • Australian police investigating death threat against Kem Ley's widow

    Updated: 10:17am, Friday March 23, 2018 Australian authorities on Thursday confirmed they have launched an investigation into a crudely written death threat sent tothe family of slain political analyst Kem Ley and Victoria state MP Hong Lim. The typed letter, reported to Victoria police last week, is

  • Apparel groups including H&M and Gap urge Cambodia garment industry reform, seek meeting with Hun Sen

    A group representing some of the largest apparel brands in the US and Europe – including Gap, H&M and ASOS – expressed “growing concern” on Tuesday over several controversial labour laws and ongoing court cases against unionists described as restrictive and unjust. In an open letter

  • Cambodia, states clash at UN session

    Cambodia traded shots with the international community in a heated exchange at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on Thursday evening, with states condemning the Kingdom’s ongoing crackdown on the political opposition and civil society, and an increasingly agitated Cambodia accusing member states