Opposition to Boycott Senate

Taing Vida / Khmer Times No Comments Share:
Thak Lany has reportedly left the country for health reasons. Supplied

Efforts by opposition senators to block attempts to remove the immunity from prosecution of Senator Thak Lany – who has been sued by Prime Minister Hun Sen for libel – were unsuccessful yesterday, leading to the 10 opposition members in the senate boycotting today’s planned plenary session.
 
Ms. Lany was sued by the prime minister last month for libel and slander after he accused her of linking him to the murder of political analyst Kem Ley in July. Ms. Lany has denied this and has twice refused to appear before the Phnom Penh Municipal Court to answer questions about the case.
 
At a meeting of the permanent committee yesterday, Teav Vannol, the deputy president of the Sam Rainsy Party, asked senators not to add the topic of Ms. Lany’s immunity to the agenda for today, but his request was ignored, he told Khmer Times.
 
“I requested that if they found her guilty, the senate just advise her and ask her to apologize publicly. I think that her words were just part of freedom of expression. They therefore cannot be right or wrong 100 percent. In a democratic society, it’s wrong a little bit but we should not lift her immunity.”
 
With the other 12 members of the committee belonging to the ruling Cambodian People’s Party, he said the idea had been unsuccessful and called the pressure on Ms. Lany “political.”
 
“I think that nothing will change from withdrawing [her immunity], as the ruling party can easily find the required two thirds majority. I think it’s just a political tactic to put pressure on the opposition,” he said.
 
Ms. Lany could not be reached for comment and Mr. Vannol said she is out of the country “for health reasons.”
 
Senate spokesperson Mam Bunneang said that with Ms. Lany twice refusing to cooperate with prosecutors, the senate needed to expedite efforts in removing her immunity, after which she must attend court or face further charges.
 
“Thak Lany did not admit to what she said, so how can we ask her to apologize? The clues that show she was the offender were based on the video and four witness testimonies. Also, she claimed she didn’t say it, she didn’t accept fault. So we need the senators to discuss this matter.”
 
Both Ms. Lany and opposition leader Sam Rainsy have ignored summons to court, after they were sued by the prime minister over their accusations of his involvement in Mr. Ley’s murder. Mr. Rainsy is living in self-imposed exile in France.

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