Alexa
  • Directory of Taiwan

Cambodian lawmaker refuses to pay for defaming PM

Cambodian lawmaker refuses to pay for defaming PM

A Cambodian opposition lawmaker convicted of defaming the country's prime minister has refused to pay a court-ordered fine, though her defiance could land her in prison.
Phnom Penh Municipal Court ordered Mu Sochua of the Sam Rainsy Party to pay 8.5 million riel ($2,000) to the state and another 8 million riel ($1,882) in compensation to Prime Minister Hun Sen, following her conviction last August. The deadline was Thursday, but no action was immediately taken against her.
Mu Sochua insisted she would not pay the money, and was prepared to go to prison, for what could be up to six months. She claims the court's ruling was politically motivated.
Government and judicial officials were unavailable for comment Thursday, though they deny the courts are under political influence.
The case is one of a series Hun Sen's government has filed to intimidate critics in the opposition and the press. After Mu Sochua's conviction, the New York-based based group Human Rights Watch said the prime minister had "a long history of trying to muzzle Cambodia's political opposition and undermine the independence of the legal profession."
On Wednesday, the U.N. expressed concern about the proceedings.
"We believe this highly politicized case appears to show an alarming erosion of both freedom of expression and the independence of the judiciary in Cambodia," said Rupert Colville, a spokesman for U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay.
The case against Mu Sochua was filed after she attempted to sue the prime minister for defamation, after he used offensive language in what appeared to be a reference to her in two speeches. Her suit was dropped by the court, which ruled it groundless.
Speaking to reporters at her party headquarters in the capital Phnom Penh, Mu Sochua said she didn't fear being arrested.
"I have vowed that I would not pay compensation, and I am ready to go to prison," she said. "I have done nothing wrong. I did not do any thing that violated the law."


Updated : 2021-04-22 21:43 GMT+08:00