Sokha’s supporters slam Rainsy for insulting King

Ben Sokhean / Khmer Times No Comments Share:
Former opposition leaders Kem Sokha and Sam Rainsy attend a CNRP rally. KT/Mai Vireak

Supporters of Kem Sokha have slammed Sam Rainsy over defamatory comments he made against King Norodom Sihamoni.

According to a statement obtained yesterday from the former opposition CNRP, Mr Rainsy’s comments about the King are not in line with Mr Sokha’s stance.

“The Cambodian National Rescue Party adheres to a non-violence principle and seeks a positive transformation through a free and fair election,” the statement said. “Any strategy, plan or activity that opposes the by-laws and principles of CNRP, such as using violent means and insults, absolutely does not reflect the stance of Kem Sokha.”

The statement added that Mr Sokha, who remains on bail over treason charges, still does not recognise Mr Rainsy as acting president of the CNRP, to which he was nominated at a world conference last year in the US.

“Kem Sokha’s lawyers have clearly stated that [Mr Sokha] did not support or recognise the conference and any decision made on December 1 to 2, 2018, in Atlanta, US, by the Cambodia National Rescue Movement group headed by Sam Rainsy.”

Pheng Heng, one of Mr Sokha’s lawyers, yesterday said that like all Cambodian people, Mr Sokha respects the King.

“Kem Sokha adheres to a non-violence principle, he loves peace and democracy,” Mr Heng said. “It’s not only Kem Sokha who respects the King, but it is all Cambodian people, as [the King] represents the nation.”

He added that politicians should gather to talk rather than continue to attack each other, which does not benefit the people.

“Actually, we are the people, including lawyers, and we want the politicians to love each other, whether they think they are right or wrong, they should talk to each other,” he said. “If they fight each other, the ones who suffer are the people.”

“They should learn from the past and solve issues peacefully. We already experienced suffering before we had the Paris Peace Agreement. We ended the war because we were able to talk to each other,” Mr Heng added.

Mr Rainsy was charged with lèse-majesté by Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Friday following comments he made in an interview with Radio Free Asia, in which he insulted the King, whom he referred to as Prime Minister Hun Sen’s hostage. The court yesterday issued an arrest warrant over the charges.

His remarks about the King also prompted the Royal Palace and dozens other national and subnational institutions to condemn and call for legal action against him.

Mr Rainsy previously also called on the people to rise against Mr Hun Sen’s government and appealed to all soldiers to turn their guns on the government. Mr Rainsy on Sunday maintained his words about the King.

CPP spokesman Sok Eysan yesterday said Mr Rainsy’s act of insulting King Sihamoni is not acceptable.

“The outlawed rebel leader [Mr Rainsy] has become deranged. He dares to insult the King,” Mr Eysan said. “He wants intervention from the King but he cannot achieve what he wants. Then, he turns to insult the King.”

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