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Lawyer now a ‘monk’

Lawyer now a ‘monk’

120106_02
Choung Choungy, a lawyer for the opposition Sam Rainsy Party, has his head shaved at the party’s headquarters in Phnom Penh yesterday.

A lawyer for the Sam Rainsy Party yesterday began his meditation for justice campaign at the opposition party’s headquarters in the capital’s Meanchey district, after a Buddhist layman shaved his head and blessed him.

Dressed in white, the lawyer began meditating in the morning between placards calling on the Justice Ministry, prosecutors, lawyers and the Bar Association to defend justice.

“Lawyer Choung Choungy is focusing on clear sightedness, keeping silent and seeking tolerance and truth through meditation to liberate people from danger and obstacles,” layman Hing Phirom said.

“He is doing it for the nation.”

Late last month, Choung Choungy was charged with helping a prisoner escape jail. SRP lawmaker Chan Cheng was also stripped of his parliamentary immunity over the same case, after the Kandal provincial court charged the pair with helping Bantey Dek commune deputy chief Meas Peng escape jail in September.

Choung Choungy denied the charge, saying his client had never been formally arrested and as a result could not be legally imprisoned.

The lawyer had been reported to have disappeared last week, but then held a press conference the following day to announce he had evaded three attempts by police to arrest him. Police, however, said they had not even been looking for him.

Yesterday, he took aim at the legal system with slogans displayed on four posters placed around him. One called on judges and prosecutors to defend justice, while another read: “Good deeds receive good deeds. Bad deeds receive bad deeds. Present deeds decorate life for the future.”

Another urged the Ministry of Justice to remember to uphold social justice, while the fourth called on all Bar Association members to defend justice.

Hing Phirom said the meditation campaign would continue for one month, and that Choung Choungy would, in line with the practices of a monk, abstain from eating anything after lunch.

Cambodian Bar Association president Chiv Songhak said that Choung Choungy could be penalised or dismissed from the Bar Association if he was found to have breached its code.

“I don’t know whether it is a strike or not,” Chiv Songhak said, adding that the association’s disciplinary council had requested that he not embark on his campaign.

“We have to check the law, and if his activities are contrary to any point of the law, he could face one of four sanctions,” he said.

Those sanctions are verbal or written warnings, suspension for less than two years and disbarment.

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