Video footage apparently showing a WhatsApp conversation between former opposition leader Sam Rainsy and former CNRP lawmaker Long Ry, in which they discuss keeping their former leader Kem Sokha in jail, was uploaded online by local media on Saturday.
Posted by Fresh News on Facebook, the 30-second footage shows what looks like a WhatsApp conversation between Mr Rainsy and Mr Ry. It is not clear when the conversation took place.
In the footage, a man with Mr Rainsy’s display photo said in three voice notes that Mr Sokha, who is facing treason charges and has been released on bail, should stay in detention.
“If Kem Sokha was freed, then he will break off from Sam Rainsy,” one of the voice notes said. “Our plan is to make Kem Sokha remain imprisoned. So I have to ensure that Hun Sen will not release Kem Sokha.”
“We appeal to Human Rights Party officials to not file a request to return to politics,” another voice note said.
Mr Sokha was arrested in September 2017 after authorities accused him of colluding with the United States to topple the government.
In November 2017, the Supreme Court dissolved the CNRP and banned 118 of its senior members from politics for five years. Last year, Mr Sokha was released on bail from Tboung Khmum province’s Trapaing Phlong prison.
Former CNRP supporters overseas in December nominated Mr Rainsy as acting party president, a move highly criticised by supporters of Mr Sokha.
Earlier this year, the government amended the Law on Political Parties to pave way for the return of the 118 banned CNRP politicians.
The amendment and Mr Rainsy’s nomination as acting party president divided what was left of the former opposition party, with some saying that both men are now at odds.
CPP spokesman Sok Eysan yesterday reiterated that Mr Rainsy and Mr Sokha are no longer allies.
“They are destroying one another because they are no longer allies,” Mr Eysan said.
Former CNRP lawmaker Ou Chanrath yesterday said he does not know if the footage is authentic.
“I doubt that the relationship is over. However, if the footage is real, then I think it will be hard to restore the relationship,” Mr Chanrath said. “It is not clear whether it is true or not – I don’t know if it was the intention to push us to not trust each other.”