HUMAN Rights Party (HRP) President Kem Sokha said Monday that he intends to visit two villagers jailed in Svay Rieng province, and organise the payment of fines levied against them for the destruction of temporary border markers in October.
On January 27, Svay Rieng provincial court sentenced the two villagers – Meas Srey, 39, and Prom Chea, 41 – to one year each in prison on the charge of destroying public property along with Sam Rainsy Party (SRP) head Sam Rainsy, who was sentenced in absentia to two years in prison.
The three were ordered collectively to pay 55 million riels ($13,253) in compensation for the removal of the six border markers.
Speaking to reporters on Monday, Kem Sokha said that on a recent visit to the United States, Khmer immigrants had asked him to help the two villagers, promising to put up the money to pay the fines. He said his visit to Svay Rieng was set for Thursday.
“I will go to meet with the victims’ families to aid them and help resolve the issue for both victims. The HRP will be paying for lawyers and all compensation payments – the HRP will be responsible for everything,” Kem Sokha said.
Kem Sokha told the Post on Tuesday that he would travel to Svay Rieng alone, and that his visit would conform to prison regulations. “If anyone prohibits me from entering the jail to visit [the jailed villagers], it means that he does not respect the law,” he said.
Prach Rim, Svay Rieng provincial police chief, confirmed Kem Sokha had every right to visit the villagers.
Meanwhile, Kimsour Phirith, acting spokesman of the SRP, lauded Kem Sokha’s kindness towards the jailed villagers, saying his visit would demonstrate that democratic opposition parties were willing to help each other out.
“I think Kem Sokha does not seek to profit from his action,” he said. “I would like to appeal to more generous people to help because this is also an idea that the SRP has had for a long time.”