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Online campaign begins to free Kem Sokha

Taing Vida / Khmer Times Share:
Former opposition leader Kem Sokha. KT/Chor Sokunthea

Former opposition members have launched a Facebook campaign for the release of Kem Sokha, who remains jailed on treason charges and is due to appear for a bail hearing on August 22 at the Supreme Court.

Dubbed the White Sunday Campaign, former opposition officials are calling on people to post pictures of themselves on Facebook every Sunday wearing white clothing to push for Mr Sokha’s freedom.

The Campaign was initiated by Suon Rida and Hing Soksan, who also want other “political prisoners” released, including, two jailed RFA reporters, land activist Tep Vanny and other CNRP members.

Mr Rida, who fled the country after the CNRP was dissolved by the Supreme Court, yesterday announced the campaign on Facebook.

“The detention of Sokha is unjust and seriously illegal,” he said. “We want justice and freedom for Sokha. We also want the attention of the international community.”

Mr Rida added that it’s been 339 days since Mr Sokha was arrested and charged with treason for allegedly conspiring with the US to overthrow the government.

Interior Ministry spokesman General Khieu Sopheak yesterday called the campaign useless and possibly disruptive to society, noting that social disorder could lead to Mr Sokha being denied bail as his release could be a security threat.

“I’ve had enough about campaigns created by the former opposition. I think it’s useless,” Gen Sopheak said. “Let the Supreme Court decide on the case. In my view, I think if they want Sokha to be released, why not tell him to request a royal pardon and to apologise to all Cambodian people. Perhaps this would help more compared to the campaign.”

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