Chan Chen, lawyer for former opposition leader Kem Sokha, yesterday responded to statements made by Prime Minister Hun Sen alleging that Mr Sokha is discouraging banned CNRP officials from seeking a lift on their five-year ban from politics.
Mr Hun Sen stated on Monday that Mr Sokha had restricted banned former opposition party officials from seeking clemency.
“There is some person, who is under court supervision, who warned them not to seek their political rights,” Mr Hun Sen said, referring to Mr Sokha.
Mr Chen on Facebook said that according to Mr Sokha, banned CNRP officials have not been discouraged to have their bans lifted.
“My client says do not prevent them from requesting for their rights to participate in politics,” he said.
Mr Hun Sen has said that he is still open to accepting requests of clemency and noted that those who are still involved with former opposition leader Sam Rainsy will be prosecuted.
“I wish to say that for those of you who have not received political rehabilitation that if you conduct political activities, then what you are doing is illegal,” he said. “I must take action against you if you are with an illegal movement and illegal party. You will face a serious sentence if you go against the Supreme Court’s verdict.”
So far, nine former opposition party members banned from politics in 2017 by the Supreme Court have had their political rights restored.
On Monday, Ou Chanrath, Kang Kimhak, Tep Sothy, Chiv Kakak and Sim Sovany, held a press conference defending their decision. They said that they will not create a new party, or join another.
Mr Chanrath yesterday said politicians who were banned from politics have no chance to meet Mr Sokha to discuss politics.
“We do not have the possibility of meeting Kem Sokha and we have never received any messages or advice from him telling us to seek our political rights,” he said. “I asked for the rehabilitation of my rights to participate in politics because I want to ease the current political situation and to conduct a dialogue between Cambodians in order to bring forth national reconciliation.”