Hong Sok Hour’s attorney on Monday submitted a five-page legal document making the case for charges of forgery and incitement against the Sam Rainsy Party senator to be dropped by the Phnom Penh Municipal Court.
Longtime opposition counsel Choung Choungy argued the facts of the case support neither that the maps were forged nor that social chaos had resulted from the posting of the senator’s Cambodia-Vietnam border presentation to social media.
Choungy said that the allegedly forged maps Sok Hour used had been downloaded from the internet and thus, while not being officially recognised documents, their use represented no criminal act. Given that, Sok Hour’s immunity as a senator should remain intact, he maintained.
“Until now, no document confirms about the withdrawal of the immunity of Hong Sok Hour, so the detention and allegation are not right,” he said.
The Senate on August 17 voted unanimously – minus boycotting SRP senators – to allow criminal proceedings to continue against Sok Hour, a de facto stripping of his immunity.
The move relied on a constitutional provision that allows for the ignoring of immunity in instances where a lawmaker is caught in the act.
Oum Sarith, secretary general of the Senate, yesterday said that vote spoke for itself. “The president of Senate has clearly shown his opinion about this case, giving the court full right to process the allegation,” he said.
Municipal judge Kor Vandy, meanwhile, confirmed he received the letter but declined to comment, saying he has not had time to look through it.