Australian protest to demand Sokha’s release

Khy Sovuthy / Khmer Times No Comments Share:
flickr/Michael Coghlan/CC BY-SA
flickr/Michael Coghlan/CC BY-SA

Cambodian-Australians are to hold a mass demonstration tomorrow to call for the release of former CNRP leader Kem Sokha in Australia’s Canberra city.

According to a statement obtained yesterday, the Cambodian Australian Federation Inc appealed to all Cambodians in Australia to join the protest calling for Mr Sokha’s release and respect for the Paris Peace Accords.

Demonstrators will travel by bus from Wat Buddharangsi Melbourne to Canberra city tonight.

Mr Sokha was arrested on September 3 and charged with treason for allegedly planning a coup against the government with the help of the United States. He remains in prison awaiting trial.

The Supreme Court on November 16 dissolved his CNRP party on treason charges and banned 118 senior members from politics for five years.

Social analyst Meas Ny said the demonstration in Australia may have little short-term impact, but could make a difference in the long-term.

“It will not influence Cambodia immediately but shows that Cambodian people living abroad care about what happens in Cambodia,” Mr Ny said. “They understand that Kem Sokha is not a bad person.”

Mr Ny added Cambodian people living abroad have been getting more concerned about the political situation at home over the past three years.

“If the demonstration happened in Cambodia, the authorities would crack down on it,” Mr Ny said.

CPP spokesman Suos Yara said the protesters were Australian nationals, so the demonstration would not affect Cambodia.

He added that Mr Sokha’s detention was authorised by the court, which no one had the right to interfere with.

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