The Phnom Penh Municipal Court rejected a request from opposition Senator Thak Lany to delay her scheduled questioning on Wednesday over allegations that she pinned the murder of political analyst Kem Ley on Prime Minister Hun Sen.
The premier sued the Sam Rainsy Party senator earlier this month for allegedly accusing him in a speech of personally ordering the July 10 shooting of Kem Ley, which she denies.
Sam Sokong, the lawyer for Senator Thak Lany, speaks to reporters outside the Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Wednesday. (Siv Channa/The Cambodia Daily) Ms. Lany had already missed one scheduled questioning and did so again on Wednesday.
Upon leaving the municipal court on Wednesday, her lawyer, Sam Sokong, told reporters that he had just filed a motion requesting further delay.
“My client did not appear because she is a senator who has immunity and, second, because the investigation is happening without obvious evidence,” he said. “She will consider appearing when the Senate removes or suspends her immunity.”
Contacted afterward, municipal court spokesman Ly Sophana said the request had been rejected “because the explanation has no legal basis.” He declined to say whether the court would issue another arrest warrant to force her to appear, which it has the authority to do.
Ms. Lany denies accusing the prime minister of having Kem Ley killed and claims that the video recording of the speech that was used to sue her was doctored.
She claims that her legal immunity as a lawmaker spares her from having to honor a court summons. The court says that such immunity does not cover questioning.
Opposition leader Sam Rainsy, who was sued by Mr. Hun Sen at the same time as the senator for accusing the government via his Facebook page of orchestrating Kem Ley’s murder, is due in court for his own questioning on Friday.
Mr. Rainsy, living in self-imposed exile to avoid a prison sentence for a previous defamation conviction, took to Facebook again on Sunday to say that he had no intention of showing up in person but would gladly answer questions from abroad via video link. The Justice Ministry has previously rejected such a request.
narim@cambodiadaily.com
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