CNRP to File Lawsuit Against Deputy Governor

Officials from the opposition CNRP announced Tuesday that they will file lawsuits against deputy Daun Penh district governor Sok Penhvuth, who on Monday ordered district security guards to attack a small and peaceful group of CNRP supporters near Phnom Penh’s Freedom Park.

Speaking at a press conference at the CNRP’s headquarters in Phnom Penh, opposition lawmaker-elect Mu Sochua said the party is compiling a case against Mr. Penhvuth that will include charges of causing injury and attempted murder.

“The National Rescue Party has taken this case to a lawyer for pursuing legal measures,” Ms. Sochua said. “We will also ask for administrative punishment by suspending deputy governor Sok Penhvuth from his position.”

Ms. Sochua added that Mr. Penhvuth consistently appears at events that are violently suppressed by the extralegal district security force, making him the party’s first target for legal action.

A group of about 30 helmeted Daun Penh security guards on Monday assaulted a small group of CNRP supporters and onlookers gathered near Freedom Park, where Ms. Sochua has been holding one-woman protests against the government’s suppresion of freedom of expression and assembly.

As the guards began to disperse the assembled crowd, Mr. Penhvuth ordered them to beat anyone filming without a press pass, even those using cameras on their smartphones.

At least four people sustained serious wounds to the head at the hand of the baton-wielding guards while more than 10 others received minor injuries. The guards kicked people after they had fallen over, and one even seized one man by his head and then kneed him directly in the face.

Pen Chhun Saravoan, vice president of the CNRP’s executive committee in Battambang province, was among the victims who received blows to the head during the assault.

“They had an intention to beat us to death. These forces are brutal,” he said at Tuesday’s press conference.

“I will lodge a complaint to the court for attempted murder and assault because they had the intention to beat us to death,” Mr. Chhun Saravoan added.

Phnom Penh City Hall spokesman Long Dimanche declined to comment on the CNRP’s plan to file legal complaints against the Daun Penh deputy district governor.

“I don’t have any comment, but [Ms. Sochua] has the right to do whatever she wants to do. We have just implemented the law,” Mr. Dimanche said.

Mr. Penhvuth could not be reached for comment.

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