The lawsuit against the Cambodia National Rescue Movement has grown to include 28 former CNRP officials accused of forming an illegal movement overseas in an effort to overthrow the government.
Phnom Penh Municipal Court is now investigating the CNRM following a lawsuit filed by the Interior Ministry, which initially included former opposition CNRP leader Sam Rainsy, the founder of the CNRM, and four others.
The case has now expanded and includes 28 former opposition officials, a Phnom Penh Municipal Court official said yesterday.
The court official said that Mr Rainsy, his wife Tioulong Saumura, former deputy presidents Eng Chhay Eang and Mu Sochua, along with former lawmaker Ho Van and 23 others, were under investigation for violating a Supreme Court verdict from November, when the country’s highest court dissolved the opposition party and banned 118 senior members from politics for five years.
The court dissolved the party following the jailing of its leader Kem Sokha on treason charges. Mr Sokha’s daughter, Kem Monovithya, is also under investigation over links to the CNRM and is accused of incitement.
Prosecutor Seang Sok, who is handling the case, declined to comment.
Ly Sophanna, spokesman for the municipal court, said the prosecutor received the Interior Ministry complaint and was now conducting an investigation following proper procedures.
“The prosecutor is handling the complaint, and the leaders of the illegal movement, including the network of the illegal movement both locally and abroad, are under investigation by competent authorities,” he said.
Khieu Sopheak, spokesman for the Ministry of Interior, declined to identify all 28 former opposition figures now under investigation.
“We filed a complaint against those people, but I cannot confirm how many, and who they are, because I am worried if we tell the media those people will stop their activity,” he said.
The CNRM was launched last month by Mr Rainsy in response to the Supreme Court’s dissolution of the CNRP and as a way to help the CNRP rejoin the upcoming national election.
Yesterday Mr Rainsy posted on his Facebook page appealing to the armed forces not to listen to any dictator who orders them to shoot citizens who peacefully ask for freedom and justice.
Mr Chhay Eang, who has fled the country, said the CNRM had a commitment to advocate overseas in order to help the now-dissolved CNRP participate in the upcoming general election in July and negotiate the release of Mr Sokha.
“We are using our rights as stipulated in the constitution, as well as guaranteed in the Paris Peace Accords, and the UN’s charter,” he said. “So our activities comply with national and international laws.”