Kem Sokha not under house arrest

Taing Vida / Khmer Times No Comments Share:
Former opposition leader Kem Sokha at his home. Facebook

Phnom Penh Municipal Court has issued a statement saying that former opposition leader Kem Sokha is currently under court supervision and free to contact other people except the ones banned by the court, clarifying that he is not under house arrest.

In a statement on Wednesday, Investigating Judge Ky Rithy said Mr Sokha had the rights to communicate with individuals who are not in the court’s prohibited list, which includes former opposition officials or individuals, especially foreigners, linked to his treason case.

Mr Sokha was released on bail from Tboung Khmum province’s Trapeang Phlong prison on September 10.

His bail conditions ban him from making trips abroad and confine him to a four-block radius surrounding his home in Tuol Kork district’s Boeng Kak II commune.

“The accused Kem Sokha has been placed under court supervision and is not under house arrest,” the statement noted.

Prime Minister Hun Sen on Wednesday said Mr Sokha was transferred from Trapeang Phlong prison to his house in Phnom Penh for humanitarian reasons.

Pheng Heng, one of Mr Sokha’s lawyers, said he recently made a request to the judge asking him to drop all charges against his client despite many requests being rejected earlier.

“I am not sure how long the investigation will take. It has been more than a year after he was charged. A number of witnesses, including politicians, NGOs staffers and activists were summoned related to his case, but it seems that none of them were giving negative remarks on my client,” Mr Heng said.

Mr Sokha is now receiving medical treatment at his home, he added.

Mr Sokha spent a year behind bars on treason charges in Trapeang Phlong prison over comments made in a 2013 video, saying the US had been helping him push for regime change in Cambodia.

The US and EU have called on Cambodian government to drop all charges against Mr Sokha.

CPP spokesman Sok Eysan has warned Kem Monovithya, Mr Sokha’s daughter, over her overseas activism against the government, saying that it may result in a blow to her father in return.

Ms Monovithya has lobbied the international community to intervene and pressure the government to have the charges dropped.

“She has made so much effort in her father’s case. But if she affects the country’s prestige and reputation, it will not help her father at all. But it could make the punishment for her father heavier,” Mr Eysan said.

Ms Monovithya could not be reached for comment yesterday.

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