Despite announcing plans to file a complaint Friday, an attorney for SRP lawmaker Mu Sochua that her defamation lawsuit against Prime Minister Hun Sen will now be filed Monday, a delay he attributed to his teaching schedule.
“Filing the lawsuit [on Friday] is impossible, it has to be Monday because I will be in the seminar the whole time,” Mu Sochua’s lawyer, Kong Sam Onn, said by telephone.
Ms Mu Sochua and Mr Kong Sam Onn held a news conference at SRP headquarters Thursday announcing their intention to seek symbolic damages of 500 riel for remarks the premier made on April 4, when he apparently accused Ms Mu Sochua of falsely claiming to have been assaulted and referred to her as “cheung klang,” which literally means “strong legs,” but can also be interpreted as demeaning.
Ms Mu Sochua said by telephone that the delay was not unusual.
“He is busy. It has to be filed on Monday, it is not a problem,” she said. “Filing is filing. This is the only path, the legal way.”
CPP officials have claimed that the lawsuit was baseless, as the premier had not mentioned any woman by name in his speech.
The incident in question, and which the premier is alleged to have referred to in the speech, took place last June when Ms Mu Sochua lodged an assault complaint with police in Kampot province after a confrontation with RCAF officer San Sman, who she found was improperly using a state vehicle to campaign for the CPP ahead of the national elections. Ms Mu Sochua confronted the officer and he allegedly twisted her arm, thus making her blouse buttons come undone.
In his April 4 speech in Kampot province, the premier said that a woman, who he did not name, had hugged someone, but then claimed her blouse had been opened by force.
Mr Kong Sam Onn also said Friday that even though the prime minister had made the speech in Kampot province, Ms Mu Sochua’s lawsuit would be filed at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court because the insulting remarks were broadcast nationwide.
CPP lawmaker Cheam Yeap said that Ms Mu Sochua’s plan was to create publicity ahead of next month’s local council elections.
“She’s done this to gain votes from the people, to say that she is smart and daring,” Mr Cheam Yeap claimed. “This is all about her wanting a name and reputation.”