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Kem Sokha seeks treatment overseas

Taing Vida / Khmer Times Share:
Kem Sokha at his home following his release on bail. Facebook

A lawyer for former opposition leader Kem Sokha, who is currently on bail as his treason case progresses, has called on Phnom Penh Municipal Court to conclude its investigation and grant his client permission to pursue medical treatment overseas.

Mr Sokha was released on bail from Tboung Khmum province’s Trapeang Phlong prison last month. His bail conditions include travel restrictions, confining him to a four-block radius surrounding his home in Phnom Penh’s Tuol Kork district.

Pheng Heng, the lawyer, yesterday said the court is likely to wrap up its probe soon due to the current stability of the political environment.

“The judge has no new evidence or summoned new witnesses, and my client was behind bars for more than a year,” Mr Heng said. “This is a political issue and I am optimistic that the investigation will soon conclude.”

He added that Mr Sokha has been receiving treatment for diabetes and a cartilage tumour at home. He noted that Mr Sokha is in need of specialised doctors.

“The judge has not returned Mr Sokha’s passport regardless of the amount of requests we have made to pursue medical treatment overseas,” Mr Heng said.

Court spokesman Ly Sophanna declined to comment yesterday.

Phnom Penh police chief Lieutenant General Sar Thet has assigned 566 municipal police officers to guard areas around Mr Sokha’s home. Officers are to monitor signs of protests and ensure Mr Sokha does not leave the Kingdom.

Reached by phone yesterday, Lt Gen Thet said Mr Sokha has been visited by relatives, doctors and lawyers since his release.

“The situation is quite good, nothing is a concern,” he said. “Our officers have monitored the situation well. It is our job to ensure his safety until the court issues another notice.”

Mr Sokha was charged with treason over comments he made in a 2013 video, in which he said the United States had been helping him push for a regime change in Cambodia.

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