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Human Rights Activist, Mu Sochua, Faces Jail Time

Elected Member of Parliament, women's rights activist, human rights defender, and mother of three, Mu Sochua is truly a force to be reckoned with. Arguably the most prominent woman in Cambodian politics, Mu Sochua stands as a symbol of hope in a society plagued by corruption, poverty and social injustice.

In a Supreme Court hearing held on Wednesday June 2nd 2010, Mu Sochua was found guilty of defaming the Prime Minister and fined 16.5 million riels (US $3975). The hearing was the last of a highly charged lawsuit with Prime Minister, Hun Sen, beginning in April 2009. Failure to pay the fine will result in up to 2 years in prison.

“My stance remains the same,” she told reporters after the hearing. “I will not pay the fine. I am ready, and I am willing to go to jail, even today.”

Following the hearing, on July 6th, the Phnom Penh Municipal Court issued a letter to Mu Sochua, warning that failure to pay her fine by the 15th of July will result in “detainment by force”. After receiving the letter, Mu Sochua held a press conference, reaffirming her refusal to pay the fine and readiness to go to jail.

“It is my conscience that tells me I have not committed any crime. It is my conscience that tells me that we have to stop living in fear, and fear of one man who has ruled Cambodia for over 30 years,” Mu Sochua says. “And for me, it’s a gender issue as well. Because if I allow it to happen, if I pay the fine, what does it mean to the value of women who represent more than half of the people of Cambodia?”

Authorities have yet to confirm the length of Mu Sochua’s jail sentence, but she says she is mentally preparing for six months behind bars

Stay informed by visiting Mu Sochua's website for updates on her current situation: http://sochua.wordpress.com/

Download the following file for an in depth report on Mu Sochua's legal battle

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