Cambodia: Activist Parliamentarian May Drop Lawsuit Against Prime Minister

Mu Sochua is an internationally recognized activist and Sam Rainsy Party (SRP) member of the Cambodian National Assembly. She recently filed a lawsuit against the country's prime minister, Hun Sen, for defamatory comments he made in April 2009. Subsequently, Hun Sen filed a countersuit against Mu Sochua, also for defamation.

KI Media posted an article from the Phnom Penh Post detailing Hun Sen's countersuit:

[G]overnment lawyer Ky Tech, representing Hun Sen, filed a countersuit. Ky Tech claims he might seek as much as 10 million riels (US$2,427) in damages from Mu Sochua and other, unspecified involved persons for the defamation of his client in the press conference last Thursday.

In contrast, Mu Sochua seeks 500 riels in her lawsuit.

Cambodian Bright Future posted a letter in which Mu Sochua writes:

Within days my parliamentary immunity will be lifted so the court can “investigate” my case. This is normal procedure for politicians from the opposition party or human rights activists or the poor who cannot bribe court officials. I will be detained in the notorious prison of “Prey Sar” for as long as the courts wish to take…Is the world still watching in silence while Cambodia is now ruled by one man?

Details are Sketchy echoes Mu Sochua's thoughts:

Considering that Prime Minister Hun Sen owns the courts, [a defamation suit] seems unlikely. But good luck. It would make for an interesting two seconds — about how long the court is likely to take before it throws the case out.

Mu Sochua was recently a guest on VOA Khmer, where she announced that she would consider dropping her lawsuit.

“To protect the country, if both sides agree to withdraw the complaints, I agree,” Mu Sochua said.

Human Rights Watch supports Mu Sochua and is calling for more support worldwide.

Mu Sochua was recently interviewed by on the status of women in politics in Cambodia. Her interview is second, following an interview with fellow female lawmaker Men Sam On.

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