Mu Sochua, Ho Vann Having A Hard Time Finding Lawyers

Following the abrupt resignation and political realignment of their attorney, SRP lawmakers Mu Sochua and Ho Vann are facing difficulty finding a lawyer to represent them in the defamation cases against them at the Phnom Penh court, officials said Wednesday.

Opposition attorney Kong Sam Onn, who was also a co-defendant with Ms Sochua in the defamation suit filed by Prime Minister Hun Sen, quit earlier this week after apologizing to the premier and applying to join the ruling CPP. Mr Sam Onn’s resignation came a day be­fore the Cambodia Bar Asso­ci­a­tion’s ex­ecutive council was to re­view allegations of professional eth­ics violations brought against the att­orn­ey by Mr Hun Sen’s lawyer, Ky Tech.

Ms Sochua said Wednesday that she is searching for a lawyer to represent her at her Phnom Penh Municipal Court trial scheduled for July 24. She added that she fears it will be difficult to convince anyone to take on the job after seeing the charges and allegations levied ag­ainst Mr Sam Onn.

“It is difficult to find a lawyer. I don’t want any lawyer to take risk defending my case,” she said.

She added that she is looking for a lawyer who is less likely to be vulnerable to external forces. “I know there are tremendous pressures, I don’t want anyone to be vulnerable to the pressures,” she said. “If I don’t have a lawyer, I would go to the court myself.”

SRP lawmaker Eng Chhay Eang said that party has asked lawyer Choung Chou Ngy to be the new att­­­orney for Mr Vann, who is sch­ed­uled to go on trial July 17 over def­a­m­ation and printing defamatory news charges stemming from a com­­­plaint by 22 senior military officials. The RCAF leaders claim Mr Vann defamed them by criticizing graduate degrees handed to them by a Vietnamese military institute.

Mr Chhay Eang said he wasn’t sure whether Mr Vann, who is currently abroad, will return for his trial.

Reached Wednesday, Mr Chou Ngy said he has not yet accepted the SRP’s request to be Mr Vann’s law­yer, but is planning to meet with SRP official today to discuss the case.

“I can’t say anything before the meeting,” he said.


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