Assembly Leader Denies Plan to Strip Immunity

The National Assembly’s first De­puty President Heng Samrin on Tuesday denied any plan to strip opposition leader Sam Rainsy of his parliamentary immunity this week, while opposition party mem­­bers voiced alarm that the As­sembly was plotting to do so.

Contrary to reports from the Sam Rainsy Party, the Assembly’s per­manent committee on Monday did not put the issue of Sam Rain­sy’s immunity on the agenda for the next Assembly session, scheduled for Thursday, Heng Samrin said.

“The immunity was not discussed,” he said.

Monh Sophann, chairman of the Assembly’s commission for the interior and national defense, also confirmed that Sam Rainsy’s im­­munity would not be voted upon at Thursday’s session.

But Sam Rainsy Party spokes­man Ung Bun-Ang produced on Tuesday what he said was a draft copy of Monday’s meeting of the permanent commission—which does not have any opposition members.

On it, the question of lift­ing Sam Rainsy’s immunity, as well as those of opposition lawma­kers Cheam Channy and Chea Poch, are mentioned as items for dis­cussion.

“It is improper to strip their im­mu­nity for defaming corrupt officials,” Ung Bun-Ang said, referring to Funcinpec’s several defa­ma­­tion lawsuits against Sam Rain­sy for his allegations that royalist President Prince Norodom Rana­riddh took bribes to join a coalition government with the CPP.

On Tuesday morning, top Fun­cin­pec officials held a closed-door meeting at Phnom Penh’s Hotel Cam­bodiana. Royalist members de­clined to disclose what was discussed at the meeting.


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