SRP WILL NOT REPLACE MU SOCHUA
June 20, 2009
While pushing for the lifting of Mu Sochua’s parliamentary immunity, Prime Minister Hun Sen has been suggesting that she be replaced as a National Assembly member at the initiative of the opposition Sam Rainsy Party.
On behalf of the SRP, I can assure the Cambodian people and all Cambodia’s friends that Mu Sochua’s seat at the National Assembly will remain hers until the end of her legal term and that no replacement will be appointed.
Mu Sochua is the victim of an injustice. Hun Sen wants to eliminate her from Cambodia’s political landscape. It is a blatant abuse of power that is only possible with a subservient judiciary and a rubber-stamp parliament.
Replacing Mu Sochua would be like politically burying her alive and complying with Hun Sen’s insane desire.
When, in 2005, Cheam Channy, another SRP National Assembly member, was stripped of his parliamentary immunity and subsequently put in jail following a trumped-up criminal charge, there were also suggestions that he be replaced. But it was clear to us that replacing Cheam Channy would mean that we would accept the injustice done to him, let our colleague down, contribute to his political elimination and compound a personal tragedy. We proudly accepted to temporarily and practically lose a seat, a voice and a vote at the National Assembly.
We were right to stick to our principles. In 2006, Cheam Channy was released from prison, his immunity restored, and he recovered his seat at the National Assembly.
We are confident that adopting a similar position in the case of Mu Socha now is the right thing to do.
The same observations apply to the case of countless SRP-affiliated elected commune councilors, including commune chiefs, who have been arrested and sent to jail for politically-motivated charges. For instance, Mu Sochua’s case cannot be dissociated from the case of Tuot Saron, the SRP-affiliated elected chief of Pong Ro commune in Kampong Thom province’s Barai district. Tuot Saron is currently and unjustly in jail. But he will not be replaced. We will do all we can to help free him and to re-install him as commune chief as we are fighting to render justice to Mu Sochua.
Member of Parliament