SRP lawmaker Mu Sochua failed to meet Saturday’s deadline to pay damages to Prime Minister Hun Sen, meaning the premier may seek alternative ways of claiming the $1,875 court-awarded compensation from the lawmaker.
Ms Sochua was ordered by Phnom Penh Municipal Court to pay damages to Mr Hun Sen by Saturday but by law her refusal to do so allows Mr Hun Sen to obtain the money by claiming her personal property, failing which they can apply for her to be detained in lieu of payment.
Ms Sochua is already facing a six-month jail sentence if she fails to pay a separate fine of about $1,990 by Friday.
The fine and compensation order were handed down by Phnom Penh Municipal Court last August, as part of Ms Sochua’s conviction for defaming Mr Hun Sen in April 2009.
Yesterday, Ms Sochua said she did not know how Mr Hun Sen and his lawyers would attempt to recoup the compensation she owes.
“I am not going to pay,” she said, adding that she was preparing to be arrested on Friday for failing to pay the court-ordered fine.
“I am making the necessary steps to be around [Phnom Penh] so that if the arrest happens, people will know about it,” she said.
The premier’s lawyer, Ky Tech, declined to comment yesterday, saying he was too busy to speak to a reporter.
Deputy Phnom Penh prosecutor Sok Roeun said yesterday that he would explain later this week he would what actions the court may take if Ms Sochua fails to pay the fine.
A group of students, garment factory workers, sex workers, market vendors teachers and union workers expressed their support for Ms Sochua on Saturday, issuing a statement saying they were attempting to raise money to pay the lawmaker’s fine and compensation.
“We do not want her to go to jail…. She is a good person whom everyone likes and wants to continue in her political career,” said Arun Raksmey, a representative of the group.
Ms Sochua thanked the group for their suppor, but said she would not accept any money to pay the fine.