An association representing 140 national parliaments around the world has called on the government to release jailed opposition lawmaker Cheam Channy and allow him to resume working in the National Assembly.
The International-Parliamentary Union’s governing council, of which Cambodia is a member, adopted the resolution unanimously on Oct 19 in Geneva and also slammed the Military Court trial in which Cheam Channy was sentenced to seven years.
“The international community has unanimously described [the trial] as falling far short of the fair trial guarantees which, as a party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Cambodia is bound to respect,” states the resolution, a copy of which was obtained Sunday.
The association added that its human rights committee should visit the military prison where the opposition parliamentarian is jailed.
The IPU “notes with concern the allegations regarding Mr Cheam Channy’s condition of detention,” the statement added.
The IPU “considers that an on-site mission would contribute to a settlement of this case and requests the secretary-general to take the necessary steps for such a visit by the Committee [on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians].”
Ney Thol, director of the military court, said he did not know if members of the IPU would be allowed to visit Cheam Channy.
“I need to see their request first before I decide,” he said Sunday. “If their request is proper, I would give permission,” he said, adding that he wondered why the union is more interested in Cheam Channy than other inmates.
Opposition lawmaker Yim Sovann visited Cheam Channy on Saturday morning and said his colleague was still being kept in a small cell in poor conditions.
“He’s a little bit weak but he’s okay,” Yim Sovann said. “He wanted to discuss the political situation. I just told him the problem will be solved soon because our leader, Sam Rainsy, is traveling and asking other countries to help.”
A prison guard sat with the two lawmakers throughout the visit and recorded everything they said, Yim Sovann added.