Government Rejects NGOs Criticism over Mu Sochua Verdict
Written by DAP NEWS -- Saturday, 08 August 2009 03:29
A Cambodian Government official on Friday rejected a joint statement from local NGOs which criticized the Phnom Penh Municipal Court’s ruling in opposition MP Mu Sochua defamation case against Prime Minister Hun Sen. “I do not react to this statement but I feel regret because they do not condiuct themselves in a lawful manner,” said Phai Siphan, spokesman for the Council of Ministers (CoM), on Friday. “If Mu Sochua does not agree with the Phnom Penh court’s ruling, she has the right to file a complaint with the appeal court,” he said. “This is the court’s ruling, and no nation in the world issues statements against the courts.”
“This statement is also a political trend, but the court’s ruling is not political trend,” the official claimed. “However, they have the right to issue this statement.” Cambodian human rights groups on August 5 issued a joint statement lambasting Phnom Penh Municipal Court’s ruling that Mu Sochua had defamed Premier Hun Sen. The statement said that court’s ruling was not justice. “The court did not show enough evidence and indictment to her and then ruled to fine CR16.5 million,” the statement read. “We ask the court to perform its work and processes fairly, democratically, and not under the power of politicians’ pressure.” Phnom Penh Municipal Court on August 05, 2009 ordered the opposition lawmaker to pay CR16.5 million, of which CR8.5 must be paid in court charges, with the remainder to be paid in damages to Hun Sen. Mu Sochua left Cambodia on August 5 for the US. She will stay for several weeks on a personal visit. Her travel to the US follows her complaint filed with the Appeal Court on August 5. She disagreed with the Phnom Penh Municipal Court’s ruling that she had defamed PM Hun Sen. The Appeal Court will call Mu Sochua for questioning but she has asked for an adjournment. Mu Sochua faced the court without defense lawyer after her former lawyer Kong Som Onn defected to the Cambodian People Party (CCP) and sent an apology letter to the Premier Hun Sen. Mu Sochua asked the court for Sok Sameoun, Cambo-dian Consulting Lawyer director, to be her defense lawyer. He declined her request.