The 43rd hearing in the treason trial of former opposition leader Kem Sokha on June 8 was tense, with the prosecutor and government lawyers continuing to question him about the post-2013 election protests.
Phnom Penh Municipal Court spokesman Plang Sophal confirmed to The Post that the prosecutor focused on the demonstrations, noting that Sokha – former president of the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) – claimed to have “forgotten” a lot of details about them.
Chan Chen, one of Sokha’s defence lawyers, told The Post that the prosecutor and government lawyers often asked questions seemingly designed to link Sokha to Sam Rainsy, who appeared in several videos and pictures.
This line of questioning became clearer, he said, when questions were asked about the violent protests that took place on Veng Sreng Street. He added that both Sokha and his co-lawyers felt like the case was being split in two, saying that if the prosecutor and government lawyers wanted to ask questions about Rainsy, they could ask Rainsy directly.
“Kem Sokha answered many questions from the prosecutor and [government] lawyers, but what was common to all of his answers was that he said he ‘will not take any Cambodian for an enemy nor does he seek revenge’. Both the Human Rights Party and CNRP were servants of the people, which is why he felt voter turnout was so high when they ran,” he said.
He added that recently, Sokha asked to play a video which confirms that his position is not take any Cambodian for an enemy nor does he seek revenge, not to resent, but to remain united, for the development of the nation, together.
“The prosecutor and government lawyers were still trying to ask about the pictures and videos that showed Sokha and Rainsy standing next to each other, but Sokha had made it clear that just because he once stood alongside Rainsy, it does not mean he supports him now. Rainsy had walked away from the CNRP’s principles, he said.
According to Chen, Sokha met with about 300 supporters at his home after the hearing.