A U.S. district court in California where CNRP official Meach Sovannara is attempting to sue Prime Minister Hun Sen’s eldest son over his imprisonment in Cambodia has asked for additional information to determine whether it has jurisdiction.
Mr. Sovannara, who holds U.S. citizenship, initially filed a lawsuit against Hun Manet over his alleged involvement in his “arbitrary, extra-legal and long-term detention.” The Phnom Penh Municipal Court sentenced Mr. Sovannara to 20 years in prison in 2015 for “insurrection” over his alleged role in a 2014 protest that turned violent.
An American man, Paul Hayes, who is licensed to serve court documents, was allegedly assaulted by Lieutenant General Manet’s bodyguards during a visit to California in April while attempting to hand the general a subpoena.
Ahead of a hearing at the U.S. district court on Monday, Judge George Wu issued a “tentative ruling” finding that Mr. Hayes had failed to serve the subpoena “and that there is no general or nationwide jurisdiction over Manet.”
At the hearing, however, Judge Wu agreed to schedule another hearing for March 30 to decide how much control Lt. Gen. Manet had over his bodyguards’ actions, Mr. Sovannara’s lawyer, Morton Sklar, said in an email on Wednesday.
“We had provided some pretty clear close-up photos of the attack, and the faces of the attackers. But the judge wants more detailed information about who they are and how they are linked to Hun Manet so that he can determine whether Hun Manet can be held responsible for what they did,” he said.
Lt. Gen. Manet’s defense team did not reply to a request for comment. While still in California in April, the general told a local newspaper that Mr. Hayes “somehow tripped and fell.”
peter@cambodiadaily.com
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