Sokha’s health a ruse to get bail, says CPP

May Titthara / Khmer Times No Comments Share:
Former opposition leader Kem Sokha needs urgent medical treatment, his lawyers say. KT/Mai Vireak

Former CNRP president Kem Sokha’s defence team has filed a complaint to the Supreme Court to get him released on bail for urgent medical treatment, but a ruling party official said it’s just an excuse to secure his release.

Pheng Heng, one of Mr Sokha’s defence lawyers, said the complaint was filed on Friday.

“His wife just visited him last Saturday. She said her husband can’t sleep because he is in pain,” he said.

He added Mr Sokha had seen a doctor in Singapore, before he was arrested and detained, who said he needed surgery.

“Mr Sokha said he was too busy to have the surgery and would do it when he had free time but now he’s detained in prison,” he said.

Mr Heng added there were no doctors or equipment available in prison to treat his client.

“We would like to ask the Supreme Court to consider my client’s heath. He really needs surgery,” he said.

Mr Sokha cannot sleep well at night, has severe pain in his shoulder, has difficulties standing for long periods of time and also has high blood pressure, added Mr Heng.

Earlier this month, the Court of Appeal denied bail for the jailed former opposition leader, who has been charged with treason over an alleged attempt to overthrow the government in a colour revolution.

Mr Sokha was charged with treason last year over comments made in 2013 video footage from Australia-based CBN news, which showed him saying the US government had been helping him to push for regime change in Cambodia since 1993.

The CNRP was dissolved by the Supreme Court in November and 118 senior members were barred from politics for five years.

Last week, Amnesty International issued a call to action over Mr Sokha’s deteriorating health, requesting that people write to top government figures in an attempt to immediately secure his release.

However, CPP spokesman Sok Eysan denied that Mr Sokha, who is in custody at the Tbong Khmum prison, has a serious illness that could affect his life if he is not released on bail.

“This is just a political move to get their client released on bail,” he said.

Mr Eysan added that lawyers were concerned about the lives of their clients, but did not think about the lives of the people, asking how many people would die if “treason” brought disaster back to the country.

“We cannot compare the life of Mr Kem Sokha to the lives of all the people across the country. So we can’t release him and put the lives of millions of Cambodians at risk,” he said.

Nuth Savana and Sorn Keo, spokesmen for the Interior Ministry’s general prison department, could not be reached for comment yesterday.

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