Delay in Cambodia defamation case

Friday, July 24, 2009

Cambodian Opposition MP Mu Sochua is surrounded as she leaves court on July 24, 2009. A court as delayed judgement in the defamation case brought against her by Cambodian PM Hun Sen until August 4. [ABC/Robert Carmichael]

Robert Carmichael, Phnom Penh
ABC Radio Australia

A Cambodian parliamentarian has urged the judge presiding over her defamation case to give her justice, and deliver an historic ruling for the country's women.

But Opposition MP Mu Sochua won't know the outcome of the case - brought against her by Prime Minister Hun Sen - until next month.

A Cambodian court on Friday delayed judgement in the high-profile case.

A verdict is now expected August 4.

Dozens of supporters cheered Mu Sochua as she left the court.

Hun Sen sued Mu Sochua, a former minister of women's affairs, after she filed a legal case against him earlier this year.

Her case against the Prime Minister was dismissed several weeks ago.

Political pressure

A number of Mu Sochua party MPs attended the hearing, along with human rights observers and diplomats.

After making her appeal to the judge, she told the court she would remain silent as she had been unable to find a lawyer to represent her.

Her previous lawyer was forced to quit after coming under intense political pressure.

The court case against her is the latest in a series brought by the government against the opposition, the media and NGOs.

Human rights groups have decried the crackdown as an abuse of Cambodia's young democracy.


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