SRP Members’ Immunity To Be Restored

The National Assembly, which on Feb 3, 2005, voted overwhelmingly to strip the parliamentary immunity of three opposition party lawmakers, is expected to reverse that decision later this month, Fun­cinpec President Prince Noro­dom Ranariddh said.

The Assembly is likely to vote to re­store the immunity of opposition leader Sam Rainsy, Cheam Chan­ny and Chea Poch on Feb 28, the prince told reporters at the assembly on Monday.

“I will find a method to restore the immunities of Cheam Channy, Sam Rainsy and Chea Poch,” he said.

Sam Rainsy and Chea Poch fled Cambodia following the Assembly vote, while Cheam Channy was ar­rested and convicted of forming an illegal armed force.

Funcinpec Secretary-General Prince Norodom Sirivudh on Mon­day withdrew a defamation lawsuit against Chea Poch after he wrote to Prince Ranariddh asking for for­give­ness for accusing him of taking bribes.

“The content of Chea Poch’s letter has fixed the Funcinpec party and Samdech [Prince Ranariddh’s] damages,” Prince Sirivudh wrote to the Phnom Penh Municipal Court.

In his letter to Prince Ranariddh, Chea Poch wrote that he regretted “accusing the prince of receiving a bribe of a plane and millions of dollars to form the coalition government.”

Chea Poch said later by telephone that he had been acting in the national interest.

“I do not think it is an embarrassment or not an embarrassment,” to write the letter, he said. “I let the people judge,” he added. “I will forget personal disputes and think about the national interest.”

CPP lawmaker Cheam Yeap said he would welcome the three men to return to work.

“I am happy that Samdech Hun Sen and Samdech Prince Ran­ar­iddh forgave them, now the Khmer dynasty is reunited,” he said.

In a letter from Paris, Sam Rainsy thanked Prince Ranariddh for agreeing to restore his immunity.

“I am excited for the prince’s forgiveness for me and my wife to return to the country and to the National Assembly,” he wrote.


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