Four senior members of the opposition CNRP have allegedly been placed on a court blacklist over accusations they colluded with the party’s president Kem Sokha in a plot to topple the government.
The government-aligned media outlet Fresh News yesterday said it had obtained information about the court blacklist from the anonymous Facebook user known as “Seyha”, the supposed source of numerous leaks against the opposition.
Mr Sokha was yesterday charged with treason over comments made in old video footage from Australia-based CBN news, which showed him saying the US government had been helping him to push for regime change in Cambodia since 1993.
According to Fresh News, the court document leaked to Seyha, which translates as August, says four high-level CNRP officials are wanted for questioning in connection with Mr Sokha’s treason charges.
Fresh News claimed a close friend of CNRP vice-president Eng Chhay Eang said: “The names on the blacklist are of those who Kem Sokha trusted with the design and implementation of this scheme.
“Those who are most connected with Mr Sokha and know his secrets are CNRP vice-president Pol Ham, party spokesman Yem Ponharith and CNRP lawmaker Ou Chanrith.
“CNRP lawmaker Son Chhay might also be involved.”
Fresh News also suggested Mr Sokha’s two daughters, Kem Monovithya and Kem Samathida, could be called in for questioning by the court, over alleged involvement with US CIA agents.
Mr Sokha was yesterday charged with treason by Phnom Penh Municipal Court after being questioned by a deputy prosecutor at the Trapaing Phlong prison in Thbong Khmum province.
None of the senior CNRP officials named in the Fresh News story could be reached, while CNRP vice-president Mu Sochua declined to comment on the matter.
She also quoted Ms Sochua as saying the party would not replace Mr Sokha. “CPP would have to reverse course by releasing him or have to dissolve us,” she said.
Former opposition leader Sam Rainsy posted on his Facebook page to say Mr Sokha’s arrest showed the true colours of Prime Minister Hun Sen, comparing his regime to the Pol Pot era.
“Hun Sen and Pol Pot come from the same nest, serving Chinese and Vietnamese interests to strengthen their authoritarian and corrupt powers,” he said.
Sebastian Strangio, author of “Hun Sen’s Cambodia” said the government might try to use the Law on Political Parties to dissolve the CNRP or force it to jettison its leader, to weaken the party in the run up to next year’s election.
“Either way, it’s hard seeing the CNRP mount much of a campaign while it is under this kind of pressure from Hun Sen,” he said.
“Hun Sen has always suspected the US of colluding with the opposition to remove him from power. This view harks back to the 1980s, when Washington was supporting the CPP’s enemies in the civil war of the time.”
“What’s changed now is that Chinese power has given Hun Sen the freedom to finally excise the American democracy promotion agenda from Cambodian soil. This has been a long time coming,” he added.
In Beijing on Monday, China declared its support for the actions taken by the Cambodian government.
“As a good neighbour, friend, partner and brother of Cambodia, the Chinese side has always supported Cambodia in following the development path suited to its national conditions and the Cambodian government’s effort to uphold national security and stability,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said.