Opposition leader Sam Rainsy made an appeal to lawmakers around the world for support on Wednesday in the face of threats to lift his parliamentary immunity.
Referring to his forced removal from the National Assembly in 1995, Sam Rainsy said he was under attack from Prime Minister Hun Sen and National Assembly President Prince Norodom Ra–nariddh, who are pursuing a defamation suit against him.
“Today I must appeal again to the international solidarity of all parliamentarians because the two ruling parties in my country are joining hands to remove my parliamentary immunity, which will probably be the first step prior to my…prosecution before a politically subservient tribunal,” he said.
Prince Ranariddh has led a charge to lift the immunity of Sam Rainsy and two other opposition lawmakers, Chea Poch and Cheam Channy. The Assembly will vote on lifting their immunity at its next session, as requested by Municipal Court Prosecutor Yet Chakriya, the prince has said.
The opposition leader is also accused of causing retired King Norodom Sihanouk to abdicate by issuing warnings of staged anti-monarch protests ahead of Norodom Sihanouk’s scheduled return to Cambodia last month. Some 60 parliamentarians have signed a petition urging Sam Rainsy’s prosecution on that charge.
Sam Rainsy accused Prince Ranariddh of doing the CPP’s dirty work by pursuing the immunity issue in the Assembly.
“If they dare remove my immunity and arrest me, the political future of Prince Ranariddh will be finished,” he said.
Government spokesman Khieu Kanharith and Tuot Lux, a Funcinpec spokesman, said the lawsuits are being carried out in accordance with law.
“Mr Sam Rainsy must be responsible for what he has committed,” Khieu Kanharith said.