Battambang Provincial Court yesterday questioned six more former CNRP officials accused of violating a Supreme Court decision dissolving the party.
A total of 26 former CNRP officials were summoned to be questioned earlier this week. On Wednesday, five were questioned by the court, including Reun Kep, Phat Reth, Kun Samorn, Sang Bunmao and Som Vongdara.
Regarding the six questioned yesterday, provincial prosecutor Ky Bunnara said the cases are still under investigation and declined to comment further.
Defence lawyer Sam Sokong said his clients were questioned over Facebook posts and a meeting they held to express support for the nomination of Sam Rainsy as acting party president.
“The court tends to put blame on my clients during questioning,” Mr Sokong said. “They had no chance to give proper answers, they were repeatedly interrupted and warned.”
He said that his clients were elected CNRP local officials, but have since become ordinary citizens after the party was dissolved in November 2017.
“They were not banned from politics,” Mr Sokong said. “Even if they expressed their opinions regarding politics, I think they were not wrong.”
Sin Rozeth, a former CNRP commune chief who was questioned yesterday, said the court wanted to know if she organised a meeting with former CNRP members to garner support for Mr Rainsy.
“I told the court that I did not call any of them for the meeting,” Ms Rozeth said. “I am the owner of a noodle shop and I was happy to welcome politicians who wanted to enjoy my food.”
She added that the court also asked if she incited people to disrespect the Supreme Court’s decision dissolving the party.
“I told the court that on that day, former CNRP members, including young people, arrived at my shop to eat food and we had a chat,” Ms Rozeth said. “We shared feelings and expressed missing our former leaders Sam Rainsy and Kem Sokha because they were like our parents. Are these illegal activities?”
“I would like to urge the court not to question me any more. These summons bother me and my business,” she said. “Because I am a former CNRP official, my business has not performed well. Sometimes I can only sell one dish per day.”
United Nations human rights envoy Rhona Smith yesterday noted the summonses of the 26 former CNRP members as she ended her latest mission to the Kingdom.
“I have paid close attention to these summonses, and I am worried that those former CNRP officials could face charges,” Ms Smith said.