At least four opposition CNRP lawmakers have been summoned to appear at the Supreme Court on January 19 for questioning over their role in an alleged “insurrection” at a protest they held at Phnom Penh’s Freedom Park on July 15.
Seven opposition lawmakers-elect and a party official were imprisoned after the protest, during which a violent street brawl erupted, but were released on the day the July 22 political deal was brokered.
The lawmakers-elect were freed in order to allow them to be sworn into the National Assembly and end the CNRP’s parliamentary boycott. They automatically gained immunity from prosecution when they were sworn in.
One of the lawmakers, Keo Phirum from Kratie province, posted his Supreme Court summons on his Facebook page last night. The document was dated December 26 and says he has been accused of “leading an insurrection.”
Mr. Phirum said by telephone he would honor the summons on January 19 despite his parliamentary immunity.
“I will because I have not done anything wrong,” he said. “I should have parliamentary immunity, but whatever the court asks I will do.
“I assume the others have received it too,” Mr. Phirum said of the six other lawmakers, adding that he only knows for certain that one of them, Ho Vann, was also summoned.
Real Camerin, another of the lawmakers, said he had also been summoned, along with Long Ry, to the court for questioning over the insurrection charges. He said he would also respect the summons.
Two other lawmakers at the protest, Men Sothavrin and Nuth Rumduol, could not be reached for comment, while Mu Sochua, who led the July 15 protest at Freedom Park, said she had not received a summons.
Ms. Sochua noted that given the lawmakers’ parliamentary immunity, even summoning them for questioning was not permitted.
“It’s in Article 80 on the status of parliamentarians,” she said.
The Constitution’s Article 80 says that lawmakers cannot be accused of or held for any crimes without the permission of the National Assembly.