Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Vann too ‘busy’ for court date

Vann too ‘busy’ for court date

Cambodia National Rescue Party lawmaker Ho Vann leaves Prey Sar prison on bail
Cambodia National Rescue Party lawmaker Ho Vann leaves Prey Sar prison on bail in July last year after he was detained by authorities for his involvement in a protest at Freedom Park that turned violent. Vireak Mai

Vann too ‘busy’ for court date

Opposition lawmaker Ho Vann failed to show up in court yesterday, where he was summonsed for questioning over his alleged role in a demonstration that turned violent last July.

The Cambodia National Rescue Party MP for Phnom Penh said he was too busy to attend the hearing, citing “personal problems” that had prevented him from turning up.

“I have left this case for my lawyer, because I am busy. The next day I have some free time, I can go [to the court],” he explained.

Vann was arrested along with seven other CNRP lawmakers following the protest on July 15 aimed at opening the capital’s Freedom Park to the public.

When a group of district security guards attempted to break up the gathering, protestors reacted angrily – after having witnessed the untrained security force savagely beating attendees at previous demonstrations – and seriously injured several of the guards.

The lawmakers arrested after the protest were all charged with leading an “insurrection”, and while they were released from jail on July 22, 2014 – the day Prime Minister Hun Sen and CNRP president Sam Rainsy signed an agreement that saw the opposition politicians join parliament – they were re-summonsed to court on the same charges earlier this month.

Vann declined to explain yesterday what had kept him from attending the questioning session, referring the question to his lawyer, Ket Khy.

Khy said that he had advised Vann that he was unable to request that the judge postpone the hearing as he was told to because such a request must be lodged before the day of the scheduled questioning.

“Normally in criminal cases, the lawyer cannot appear as a representative [of the accused]. And I cannot go to jail instead of him,” he said.

He added that he would have to wait to see what action the court took before requesting any further postponements.

Judge Keo Mony, who interviewed the lawmakers in Prey Sar prison after their arrest, could not be reached for comment yesterday.

On May 11, CNRP lawmaker Mu Sochua attended her hearing, but said she had exercised her right under parliamentary immunity rules to remain silent throughout the questioning.

Am Sam Ath, a senior investigator for local rights group Licadho, said the summonses were intended to disturb the work of the lawmakers and that they could not be expected to attend at such short notice.

“Lawmakers should not be summonsed as [the court] wishes. They should not have to attend in person. Their

summonsing bothers them,” he said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Police seek arrest of Chinese ‘gang’

    Cambodian police remain on the lookout for 20 Chinese nationals who earlier this month posted a video clip threatening to stoke insecurity in Preah Sihanouk province, though the Chinese Embassy in Phnom Penh maintained the group posed no threats to Cambodia’s national security. National Police

  • Rapper deletes song critical of Cambodian social issues

    A young musician has deleted from Facebook and YouTube a rap song that was critical of Cambodia’s social issues and announced that he will stop singing the song after officials visited his home in Siem Reap province and allegedly gave him a warning. Provincial

  • Man arrested for fake PM endorsement

    The owner of currency exchange company GCG Asia Co Ltd was temporarily detained by the court yesterday for attempted fraud after Prime Minister Hun Sen reacted to the company using his name and pictures to allege his endorsement of the firm. Phnom Penh Municipal Court

  • Sihanoukville authority orders structure dismantled

    The Preah Sihanouk provincial administration has ordered owners of two unauthorised construction sites to immediately dismantle them and warned of legal action if the owners failed to comply. Ly Chet Niyom, development management and construction bureau chief at the provincial hall, told The Post on