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Jailed CNRP, SRP officials leave parties

CNRP activists Ouk Pich Samnang (left) and Meach Sovannara (right) are escorted into the Supreme Court in Phnom Penh.
CNRP activists Ouk Pich Samnang (left) and Meach Sovannara (right) are escorted into the Supreme Court in Phnom Penh last month. Pha Lina

Jailed CNRP, SRP officials leave parties

Three imprisoned opposition party members resigned from their positions late yesterday, saying they feared the Cambodia National Rescue Party would be dissolved if they remained in the wake of controversial new amendments to the Law on Political Parties.

Meach Sovannara, Um Sam An and Hong Sok Hour all stepped down from their committee roles, according to letters posted on Facebook and confirmed by a source close to the situation, who asked not to be named.

The amendments, passed by the National Assembly on Monday but not yet approved by the Senate or signed by the King, forbid people with criminal convictions from holding party leadership positions, and gives the Supreme Court the power to dissolve parties that breach this requirement.

The letters announced that Senator Hong Sok Hour stepped down as the secretary-general and member of the board of directors of the Sam Rainsy Party, while Um Sam An and Meach Sovannara resigned as a members of the CNRP’s board of directors.

The three CNRP members were convicted in high-profile cases widely considered to be politically motivated.

Sovannara was convicted in 2014 for allegedly inciting crowds at the CNRP’s post-election rally at Freedom Park and is currently serving a 20-year sentence.

Lawmaker Um Sam An and Sam Rainsy Party Senator Hong Sok Hour were both jailed over remarks made on social media concerning border issues with Vietnam.

The trio of resignations follow that of former CNRP president Sam Rainsy on February 11, who was dogged with a number of defamation cases that were also criticised as politically motivated.

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