Opposition Lawmaker Detained for Leafleting

Sam Rainsy Party lawmaker Sok Soty was briefly detained by Phnom Penh’s Phsar Thmei au­thor­ities Saturday for at­tempting to distribute leaflets, opposition officials said Sunday.

Sok Soty, accompanied by one of his party’s newest members, former Funcinpec minister Mu Sochua, was apprehended while the two of them handed out party pamphlets to vendors.

“The market security asked me to go to his office but I refused,” Sok Soty said Sunday, adding that officials then seized him and dragged him into their office.

“My arm was hurt because they used force to drag me,” Sok Soty said.

About 30 security guards de­scended on the parliamentarian, and released him about 30 minutes later, Mu Sochua said. She was not detained.

The leaflets detailed the Sam Rainsy Party’s “interpretation” of the formation of the new government, which the party maintains is corrupt and illegally formed, Mu Sochua said.

“The use of security was a form of intimidation,” she said. “How can [Sok Soty] serve his constituents if he cannot bring a message from his party to his people?”

Sok Soty said he will file a complaint to the National Assembly’s permanent committee, asking that the market chief be “educated” or “to fire him from his position.”

Phsar Thmei security chief Prack Kabul said Sunday that market security detained Sok Soty for distributing leaflets without the market’s consent.

Prack Kabul denied using force and said he had no problem with Sok Soty visiting the market. However, he said: “I am very concerned about the security in the market because people have to ask permission before they distribute leaflets.”

A statement from the Phnom Penh Municipality released Satur­day condemned the parliamentarian’s distribution of leaflets.

“This action has affected security, politics [and] social order. In particular, Sam Rainsy’s message has instigated and is motivated to split national unity,” it said.

(Ad­ditional reporting by Wency Leung)



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