F’pec MP To Defy Summons

Funcinpec lawmaker Ok So­cheat said Wednesday that he will defy a Phnom Penh Munici­pal Court summons calling him to ap­pear today to answer allegations that he incited the public to lawless behavior, the legislator said.

Municipal Court Deputy Pro­se­cutor Seam Sok Aun summoned Ok Socheat to the court in re­sponse to a Sam Rainsy Party lawsuit accusing him of inciting people to tear down opposition signs.

In October, Ok Socheat said that Funcinpec supporters should tear down opposition party signs in retaliation for any removed or de­­faced Funcinpec signs. Ok So­cheat was responding to a ceremony held by a group of Funcin­pec supporters who had defected to the opposition earlier that month.

“I will defy the court summons because what the Sam Rainsy Party complained about is ground­less,” Ok Socheat said Wednes­day. “They cannot summon me to the court while I still have parliamentary immunity.”

Ok Socheat accused the opposition party of hypocrisy—following the letter of the law only when it suits their needs. “Right now the Sam Rainsy Party knows how to implement the law, while in the past Sam Rainsy always defies the rules by leading demonstrations when the government does not allow him to demonstrate.”

Ok Socheat said that the lawsuit against him indicated that he had incited lawlessness, citing vio­lations of Articles 59 and 60 of the Untac code. However, Ok So­cheat said that these laws refer to crimes like robbery, rape and mur­der, whereas all he did was de­liver a speech. “I just spoke as a warning, it is not a crime.”

Sam Rainsy Party lawmaker Son Chhay said that he did not ex­pect Ok Socheat to be prosecuted, but rather the opposition wanted to send him a stern message.

“In reality, a member of parliament would not be allowed to be dealt with as a normal case, so I be­lieve that this [lawsuit] is just a warning,” Son Chhay said.

Sam Rainsy Party Secretary-General Eng Chhay Eang said that Ok So­cheat’s threats should be taken se­riously because he is a parliamentarian and must follow through on his threats.

(Additional reporting by David Shaftel)




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