Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Defence: Sokha treason trial drags on

Defence: Sokha treason trial drags on

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Kem Sokha greets his supporters as he leaves the Phnom Penh Municipal Court on January 19. Hong Menea

Defence: Sokha treason trial drags on

The Phnom Penh Municipal Court on July 27 continued its questioning of Kem Sokha, former leader of the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), on charges of conspiracy with a foreign country to topple the government.

Following the hearing, court spokesman Plang Sophal told The Post that it had focused on two videos, one of which was shot at Freedom Park in Phnom Penh on December 25, 2013, which showed Sokha and former CNRP president Sam Rainsy purportedly expressing their commitment to “re-shaping” the government and the nation.

The other video, also shot at the same park but in February 2014, featured former senior CNRP member Ho Vann speaking about violent demonstrators who had burnt tires and blocked a stretch of National Road 3. Sokha called for people to assist them.

Hun Kosal, a close confidant of Sokha who attended the hearing, told reporters that the prosecutor had tried to provoke a response from Sokha with strongly-worded questions, but Sokha’s defence lawyer had objected and eased the situation.

He said he had seen several videos at these hearings, but they generally concerned the demonstrations at Stung Meanchey in the capital, and not Sokha or the CNRP. The demonstrations were staged by garment workers to demand pay rises. Hearing the same old questions just showed how the trial was being prolonged, he said.

“I also know that Sokha has already answered those questions in detail, but they continued to badger him. Luckily, he is an honest man with integrity and will not be intimidated,” he added.

Kosal said he did not believe that Sokha had committed treason or colluded with a foreign power to topple the government, as he adhered to non-violent principles. The former opposition leader, he added, had sought solutions for the sake of the nation and the people, and the hearing was politically motivated.

ADHOC senior investigator Yi Soksan was of the opinion that the hearing will not be ended easily as it is “politically motivated’. The case should have been addressed through political means rather than judicial, he said.

“As a human rights organisation, we ask that the politicians come to the negotiating table. This is how these kinds of issues have been solved since the late King Father Norodom Sihanouk had mobilised people to sign the Paris Peace Agreements,” he said.

Court spokesman Sophal countered that the hearings were going as planned, although the defence lawyers appeared to be disrupting the process and trying to slow it down.


  • Research key to Kanitha’s rep for expertise

    Sok Kanitha is used to weighing in on controversial issues using a confident approach that signals expertise and authority, and a recent video she made was no exception. Her “Episode 342: The History of NATO” video went live on January 16, 2023 and immediately shot to 30,000 likes and 3,500

  • Cambodia maintains 'Kun Khmer' stance despite Thailand’s boycott threat

    Cambodia has taken the position that it will use the term "Kun Khmer" to refer to the sport of kickboxing at the upcoming Southeast Asian (SEA) Games, and has removed the term Muay from all references to the sport. Despite strong reactions from the Thai

  • Knockout! Kun Khmer replaces ‘Muay’ for Phnom Penh Games

    Cambodia has decided to officially remove the word Muay from the programme of the 32nd Southeast Asian (SEA) Games 2023 in May. “Kun Khmer” will instead be used to represent the Southeast Asian sport of kickboxing, in accordance with the wishes of the Cambodian people. Vath

  • Artificial insemination takes herd from 7 to 700

    Some farms breed local cows or even import bulls from a broad for the purpose of breeding heavier livestock for meat production. One Tbong Khnum farmer has found a more efficient way. Hout Leang employs artificial insemination to fertilise local cows. Thanks to imported “straws”

  • New int’l airport nearly half complete as travel industry returns to life

    Construction of a new airport that is slated to serve the capital has passed the 43 per cent completion mark, raising prospects for a proper recovery in the civil aviation and tourism sectors as international travellers return to the Kingdom in increasingly large numbers. The figure

  • Chinese group tours return to Cambodia starting Feb 6

    Cambodia is among 20 countries selected by Beijing for a pilot programme allowing travel agencies to provide international group tours as well as flight and hotel packages to Chinese citizens, following a three-year ban. As the days tick down until the programme kicks off on February 6,