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Kim Sok boycotts defamation trial

Pech Sotheary / Khmer Times Share:
Kim Sok arrives at court yesterday. KT/Mai Vireak

Jailed political analyst Kim Sok and his lawyer yesterday boycotted the defamation trial brought against him by Prime Minister Hun Sen, with the defendant shoving pieces of paper into his ears to tune out the proceedings.

Mr Sok has been jailed since February, and denied bail multiple times, after Mr Hun Sen accused him of defamation for allegedly claiming that the CPP was behind the murder of political analyst Kem Ley during a Radio Free Asia interview.

The trial began yesterday, but in a pre-trial hearing, Mr Sok and his lawyer again tried to have the court summon Mr Hun Sen for the trial, an argument they had already lost in Supreme Court.

Presiding Judge Ky Rithy shot down the pair’s request yet again, leaving Mr Sok and his lawyer, Choung Chou Ngy, scrambling on their last legs.

Mr Sok then requested that the presiding judge be changed, claiming Judge Rithy’s decision to not summon Mr Hun Sen was proof of an unfair trial.

Judge Rithy then offered the pair some advice.

“The request of Mr Sok is unacceptable and the court will continue on with the trial,” he said. “You [Mr Sok] can listen to the trial if you want. But if you don’t want to listen, it’s your right.”

Mr Sok and his lawyer then announced they would be boycotting the trial, arguing the court was biased against them.

Mr Chou Ngy was able to leave the courtroom, but Mr Sok was ordered to stay put and not listen to the proceedings if he did not want to.

Mr Sok then proceeded to stuff paper into his ears to tune out the proceedings and not answer any questions.

Meanwhile, the judge ordered Mr Sok’s interview with Radio Free Asia to be played as evidence against Mr Sok.

Mr Hun Sen’s lawyer Ky Tech said after the playback that the interview was proof of defamation.

“Please strongly sentence Mr Sok and order him to please pay compensation to the CPP, which is a clean institution,” Mr Tech said.

Judge Rithy said a verdict will be delivered on August 10.

Mr Sok told reporters outside the courtroom afterwards that the trial was a farce.

“This is an artificial hearing to please Prime Minister Hun Sen,” he said before being brought back to prison.

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