SAM Rainsy Party lawmaker Mu Sochua was set to appear in Phnom Penh Municipal Court this morning to defend herself against a defamation lawsuit filed by Prime Minister Hun Sen in May.
Mu Sochua said Wednesday that she would appear alone to answer the charges, given that her lawyer, Kong Sam Onn, had resigned and defected to the ruling Cambodian People's Party earlier this month.
The opposition lawmaker has repeatedly said she would rather go to jail than pay a fine if convicted, though SRP spokesman Yim Sovann said Thursday that the party would happily pay any fine levied against her.
"Mu Sochua's stance is different from the party," he said. "The SRP sees that the court is not independent or fair. Even if we continue the case to the top, she will still lose it. We do not want go on. We want to take time to help people who are facing difficulties."
But Mu Sochua said she was still willing to go to jail.
"I haven't changed my mind, but if the party wants to say this, then it is up to the party," she said.
Ou Virak, president of the Cambodian Centre for Human Rights, said he believes the SRP should take the case to the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court if Mu Sochua is found guilty of defamation today.