Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Mu Sochua not to negotiate with the gov’t over her immunity

Mrs. Mu Sochua raised a lit candle during a press conference held the SRP headquarters in Phnom Pen on 04 August 2009 (Photo: Zakariya, RFA)

04 August 2009
Radio Free Asia
Translated from Khmer by Socheata
Click here to read the article in Khmer

On 04 August, Mrs. Mu Sochua indicated that she and the SRP still maintain their stance of not negotiating with the government in exchange for the return of her parliamentary immunity.
Mrs. Mu Sochua made this declaration during a press conference at the SRP headquarters following the announcement of her verdict in Phnom Penh. The press conference was attended by both national and international reporters. Mrs. Mu Sochua commented that she is asking for an end to the culture of begging for pardon from the government, and she would rather see that the court provides justice to her instead.

Mrs. Mu Sochua said: “The judge said that Mrs. Kong Sam Onn [Mu Sochua’s former defense lawyer] was let go because he begged for pardon. As for me, if it is done according to the law, the [guilty] verdict should be handed down to the guilty party. The verdict should be done according to the law, not according the begging for pardon.”

Clash between cops and Mrs. Mu Sochua’s supporters

Following the guilty verdict handed down to Mrs. Mu Sochua, and the 16.5 million riels fine imposed on her, opposition leader Sam Rainsy and a number of other SRP MPs, as well as about 200 other people started to march from the Phnom Penh municipal court to the SRP headquarters. During the march, a brawl took place with armed cops along the marching route and violence took place to oppose the march.

Sam Rainsy condemned the hundreds of cops who used violence on the peaceful march, calling the cop action a serious violation of human rights.

Sam Rainsy said: “They do not allow people to use their rights, this action is condemned by freedom-loving people and by democratic people.”

Ho Sirin, a SRP activist, was beaten by the cops when he was trying to protect Mrs. Mu Sochua during the police brawl. He said: “The cops pushed Mrs. Mu Sochua, I pushed one of them out, he was angry with me and he kicked me. The cops came back to her again, I pushed them back again, then about 20-30 cops came to strangle me.”

Ong Yentieng, government spokesman and chairman of the government human right commits, declined not comment in this brawl case. He indicated that he was busy in a meeting. RFA could not reach any other government officials to obtain clarification on this issue.

A joint SRP and HRP statement was issued, it rejected the verdict handed down to Mrs. Mu Sochua by the PPenh municipal court on 04 August.

In this statement, the opposition parties also called on the international community to continue paying attention and to follow up on the situation in order to prevent the use of the defamation [lawsuit] and the judicial system to crack down critics. The opposition also called on the international community to push the government to apply with fruitful results the judicial reform and it must also force the government to apply all the principles of plural democracy.

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