After Phnom Penh Municipal Court concluded its investigation into former opposition leader Kem Sokha’s treason case last week, Prime Minister Hun Sen yesterday said that the charge still stands.
Speaking during a graduation ceremony in Phnom Penh, Mr Hun Sen reacted to comments by some analysts and Sam Rainsy, who suggested Sokha’s treason charge be dropped, he be given full freedom and be granted a pardon by the King.
“No charge was dropped because the court has just concluded its investigation and will send the case to trial,” Mr Hun Sen said. “Whenever the trial will be fixed, it is up to the court because we do not have the right to meddle in the court.”
“You have to remember that this case does not take one or two days, or one or two months to complete; it needs to take a long time,” he said.
He said that Sokha could not be granted a pardon by the King unless the court finds him guilty.
“Some people said that the King will grant a pardon to him soon, but he [Sokha] has not yet been convicted, so how can the King grant him a pardon?” he said.
Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Friday concluded its investigation into Sokha’s treason charge, which began in September 2017.
He was arrested in September 2017 and charged with treason for allegedly colluding with the US to overthrow the government.
The court also eased Sokha’s bail restrictions, allowing him to travel across the country, but remains under court supervision. He is banned from overseas trip and engaging in political activities.
Sokha’s lawyers could not be reached for comment yesterday.