SRP lawmaker Mu Sochua speaks with reporters at a recent press conference at the National Assembly. (Photo by: TRACEY SHELTON)
Thursday, 11 June 2009
Written by Meas Sokchea
The Phnom Penh Post
No explanation given for dismissal of opposition lawmaker's defamation case against Hun Sen, which follows out-of-court testimony from the prime minister.
THE lawyer for opposition Sam Rainsy Party lawmaker Mu Sochua learned Wednesday that his client's defamation lawsuit against Prime Minister Hun Sen had been thrown out of Phnom Penh Municipal Court, though he said he had received no explanation for the dismissal.
Kong Sam Onn said he received a letter informing him of the decision Wednesday.
"They sent me a letter at 10am to tell me that the prosecutor would not take action over Mu Sochua's suit," he said. "They did not give a reason."
Following news of the dismissal, Mu Sochua told the Post that she would appeal it, adding that she wanted an outcome that she considered fair.
"The court has rejected my lawsuit, and I have enough proof to make my case," she said.
"I still respect Hun Sen, but I need justice. I want people to see a just system."
Deputy prosecutor Hing Bun Chea declined to comment Wednesday afternoon, saying he was busy.
Mu Sochua also criticised a court decision allowing Prime Minister Hun Sen to appear at the Council of Ministers to answer questions relating to her lawsuit Monday, arguing that the council had no legal jurisdiction in the case.
"The court does not belong to the Council of Ministers. If a poor person or I am forced to go to the court, the prime minister must go to the court as well. If the court is just, it must be balanced," she said.
Hing Bun Chea said earlier in the day that the court had summoned Prime Minister Hun Sen to the Municipal Court, but that the procedure had been moved to the Council of Ministers following a request from Hun Sen's attorney Ky Tech.
Ky Tech said the questioning session had been moved for security reasons, adding that the appearance of Hun Sen's bodyguards at the court could have led the public to believe that the court could not reach an independent ruling.
Mu Sochua filed her suit against Hun Sen in late April, alleging he made insulting references to her during a speech in Kampot province on April 4. Hun Sen then countersued Mu Sochua for defamation, claiming the comments did not refer specifically to her.