Lawmaker’s Lawyers Ask Court Not to Issue Verdict

A CNRP lawmaker’s lawyers asked the Kandal Provincial Court this week not to issue a verdict due Friday in their client’s aiding-and-abetting case, effectively urging the judges to drop the charge.

CNRP lawmaker Chan Cheng, who denies any wrongdoing, was tried in absentia in July on charges of assisting in the 2011 prison escape of Meas Peng, then the chief of Banteay Dek commune in Kien Svay district.

“Our letter was submitted to the Kandal Provincial Court on Wednesday and it was stamped for official acceptance, but no reply has been made as to whether or not the presiding judge will agree with our proposed request,” said Ket Khy, one of Mr. Cheng’s lawyers.

Court officials could not be reached Thursday.

At the time of the alleged prison escape, Mr. Cheng was a lawmaker for the Sam Rainsy Party and had his parliamentary immunity stripped away the same year. In 2013, he was elected back to the National Assembly as a CNRP lawmaker for Kandal province.

The court alleges that Mr. Cheng facilitated Mr. Peng’s escape from prison, where he was being held on charges of inciting violence at a protest.

Mr. Peng, now a Kien Svay district councilor, maintained during the trial that he simply walked out of the prison and that guards did not stop him.

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