‘Fake’ Diploma Sparks Rally

More than 800 students at the Faculty of Law hung effigies and burned tires Monday to pro­test the alleged issuance of what they said was a fake diploma. 

Students at the rally claimed that a legal defender practicing in Phnom Penh had been given a diploma but had not completed the requisite studies.

“We are absolutely against the sale of Law Faculty degrees,” said Seng Bunthoeun, a fourth-year law student.

The students locked the faculty’s gates and strung up effigies of the school’s directors, Lim Eng and Keo Nguon, and Education Secretary of State Kea Sahorn. They also handed out photocopies of the diploma, which was dated April 28.

The woman who received the diploma could not be reached for comment Monday.

Students, who have been staging protests since Saturday, said they learned about the degree from Say Bory, president of the Cambodian Bar Association and a professor at the Law Faculty.

Say Bory said Monday that the woman had twice applied for membership to the bar association and had been turned down because she did not have a Law Faculty diploma. He explained that he got suspicious last month when she applied again and this time had a diploma.

“I do not know if she bought the diploma but this must be investigated,” he said, adding that he never saw her attending classes at the faculty.

Kea Sahorn on Monday denied that the diploma was fake.

He said the woman had been a student at the faculty in 1973 and had asked Education Minister Tol Lah last year to allow her to complete her degree, which she did in April.

He added that National Assem­bly members Kann Man and Monh Saphan had written letters backing her claim that she had been a student in 1973.

Students interviewed Monday said they will not end their protest until they receive an explanation from Lim Eng and Kea Sahorn. They said they have also issued complaints to the court and to the Education Ministry but have yet to receive a response.

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