Cambodian police on Tuesday clashed with supporters of an opposition lawmaker after a court found her guilty of defaming Prime Minister Hun Sen.
Opposition leader Sam Rainsy and Mu Sochua, along with supporters, marched from the court through the capital, chanting, "Justice! Justice!"
The court ruled that Mu Sochua of the Sam Rainsy Party was guilty of defaming Hun Sen for remarks she made during press conference in April, where she also stated that she would sue the premier for allegedly insulting her. Judge Sem Sakola ordered Mu Sochua to pay 2000 dollars in compensation to Hun Sen, who filed the suit soon after her April remarks. The Cambodian National Assembly stripped Mu Sochua of parliamentary immunity in June.
Police attempting to break up the march clashed with a few protesters, according to an AFP correspondent present at the scene. Most journalists and rights activists were banned from attending the brief hearing.
The lawmaker was also ordered to pay a fine of 2125 dollars to the state, but Mu Sochua told reporters that she did not accept the court's decision.
"The ruling is based on political motivation, not by laws," Mu Sochua said outside court.
Her lawsuit against Hun Sen was dismissed in court.
International rights groups have warned against a recent spate of defamation and disinformation lawsuits lodged by high-level Cambodian officials against critics. New York-based Human Rights Watch accused Hun Sen's government of silencing political opposition with a "campaign of harassment, threats, and unwarranted legal action."
Sam Rainsy was stripped his parliamentary immunity in February after accusing Hun Sen's party of corruption during elections last year and subsequently failing to pay a 2,500-dollar fine. His immunity was restored when his party paid the fine.
Cambodia police, protesters clash after PM court win, 5 August 2009,
Cambodia: government crackdown on dissenters, 4 August 2009,
Cambodian MP guilty of defamation, 4 August 2009,