Mu Sochua Given Final Date To Pay Fine

SRP lawmaker Mu Sochua will be arrested and detained if she does not pay a fine handed down to her by Phnom Penh Municipal Court before July 16, according to a court order released yesterday.

Ms Sochua failed to meet Sunday’s deadline for paying a roughly $1,990 fine that was handed down to her last month when the Supreme Court upheld a lower court’s decision that she defamed Prime Minister Hun Sen last April.

Ms Sochua confirmed that she received the final order to pay the fine yesterday.

The order, signed by Phnom Penh Municipal Court deputy prosecutor Sok Roeun, stated that Ms Sochua must pay the fine within 10 days of receipt.

“If [Mu Sochua] refuses to pay the fine, determined by the above date, we will order to forcibly detain [her], according to the law,” the order said.

By law, Ms Sochua could face six months in jail if she does not pay. As part of her conviction, she is also required to pay about $1,875 in compensation to Prime Minister Hun Sen by July 10.

As a civil party, however, Mr Hun Sen cannot request that Ms Sochua be jailed for non-payment of the compensation order until he and his lawyer exhaust other avenues for obtaining the money, including confiscation of her assets.

Yesterday, Ms Sochua reiterated that she would not pay either the fine or the compensation, adding that she was surprised by how vague yesterday’s court order was.

“I don’t know if it is 10 working days or 10 normal days…. Nothing is made clear by this judicial system,” she said, adding that she was not afraid of going to jail.

“The court can do whatever they want. I cannot accept this kind of conviction,” she said.

SRP spokesman Yim Sovann said yesterday that the party was “100 percent” behind Ms Sochua’s decision to go to jail instead of paying the fine.

“If the CPP use the court to put Mu Sochua in jail, then the international community must condemn them,” he said.

Mr Roeun could not be reached for comment yesterday.

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