Jailed Lawmaker Off List of Parliamentarians List

The National Assembly has re­moved imprisoned opposition law­ma­ker Cheam Channy from its list of parliamentarians and has eliminated him from its payroll because he “is no longer a parliamentarian,” CPP legislator Cheam Yeap said on Tuesday.

“The permanent committee re­moved [Cheam Channy’s] name off the list because he was no long­er a member of the National As­sembly. He became a convict in pri­son,” Cheam Yeap said.

Sam Rainsy Party lawmaker Son Chhay and party Secretary-General Eng Chhay Eang said they had not been officially notified of the decision, but called it illegal.

Eng Chhay Eang said he was still awaiting official notification of the move from the National Assem­bly.

Son Chhay said that Cheam Chan­­­ny remained eligible to serve as a lawmaker, and said the Sam Rainsy Party had not agreed to the Assembly’s decision.

He noted that under the Con­sti­tu­­tion, a parliamentarian could be re­­moved only in case of death or re­signation.

In other cases, he said, the decision to remove a parliamentarian could be made only through a public referendum, as lawmakers are elected officials.

Cheam Yeap said the National As­­sembly’s permanent committee had decided to remove Cheam Chan­­ny from their roster because of his recent conviction on charges of sedition and fraud.

Convicted felons may not serve in parliament, Cheam Yeap said, re­ferencing the 1956 penal code and the country’s civil servants’ code.

Chan Ven, deputy general-secretary of the National Assembly, said it was up to the Sam Rainsy Party to decide now who would fill Cheam Channy’s parliamentary seat.

Cheam Channy was imprisoned in August for seven years on char­ges of fraud and organizing a so-called “shadow army” by the Mil­itary Court.

The trial’s proceedings and evidence against the opposition lawmaker were strongly criticized by human rights groups and opposition party members.


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