CNRP Lawmaker Stonewalls Under Court Questioning

Opposition lawmaker Um Sam An, who was arrested in April upon returning to Cambodia after months overseas, refused to speak on Wednesday under questioning by an investigating judge at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court.

The CNRP has argued that the arrest of Mr. Sam An—charged with incitement for Facebook posts criticizing the government’s work demarcating Cambodia’s border with Vietnam—was unconstitutional as he is supposed to be protected from prosecution by his parliamentary immunity.

Mr. Sam An’s lawyer, Sam Sokong, said following the session on Wednesday that his client would not answer questions from the court until the National Assembly voted to strip his immunity by a two-thirds vote, as required in the Constitution.

With the CPP claiming that Mr. Sam An’s arrest was legal due to a provision that allows for a lawmaker to be arrested when caught in the act of a crime, Mr. Sokong called for the country’s highest legal bodies to review the case.

“Our lawyers’ intention is to request that the Constitutional Council explain Article 80 of the Constitution and to request that the Supreme Council of Magistracy explains whether his arrest and detention is constitutional,” he said.

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