Sunday, 9 August 2009

Government Officials Rejected a Joint Statement of Civil Society Organizations on Mu Sochua’s Case – Saturday, 8.8.2009

Posted on 8 August 2009
The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 624

“After the Phnom Penh Municipal Court issued a verdict on 4 August 2009, announcing that the Sam Rainsy Party deputy secretary-general and parliamentarian from Kampot, Ms. Mu Sochua, lost the defamation case where the Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia, Samdech Akkak Moha Senapadei Dekchor Hun Sen, had sued her, there was a strong reaction from civil society organizations against this verdict. However, the government totally rejects this joint statement where they had expressed their reaction.

“The spokesperson of the Council of Ministers, Mr. Phay Siphan, told Deum Ampil by phone on Friday, ‘I have no reaction, but I regret that these civil society organizations do not accept for themselves a the state of law, because the Phnom Penh Municipal Court decided already and the civil society’s statement is clearly political.’

“Mr. Phay Siphan added, ‘If Ms. Mu Sochua does not agree with the verdict of the Phnom Penh Municipal Court, she has the right to appeal. No country has issued statement against this court verdict.

“The Human Rights Action Committee, which is a league of 21 non-government organizations, and the Committee for Free and Fair Elections, released a joint statement on 5 August 2009, saying that they regret the verdict of the Phnom Penh Municipal Court in the morning of 4 August 2009, ordering Ms. Mu Sochua to pay a fine and to compensate Prime Minister Samdech Hun Sen.

“In the statement, they noted, ‘The Phnom Penh Municipal Court did not talk and ask in detail about facts, but just mentioned the complaint of the prime minister as the basis for its hearing, and in reality, the hearing did not pay attention on Ms. Mu Sochua’s case, especially to the reason why Ms. Mu Sochua held a press conference at [the Sam Rainsy Party] headquarters [which was used as the basis for the defamation suit against her].

“Civil society organizations ask the court to be independent, neutral, and non-biased in holding its hearings, and to reform itself soon, so that it does not become a tool of the powerful, and they requested the Cambodian courts to pay more attention to the rights and freedoms, as stated in the Constitution and other human rights treaties.

“It should be remembered that a judge of the Phnom Penh Municipal Court ordered Ms. Mu Sochua on 4 August 2009 to pay Riel 8.5 million [approx. US$2,100] to the state, and to pay a compensation of Riel 8 million [approx. US$2,000] to the Prime Minister for defamation, a court case which had extended over almost 4 months. After the verdict was issued, Ms. Mu Sochua appealed on 5 August 2009.”

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #257, 8.8.2009
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Saturday, 8 August 2009

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