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Sokha summonsed over violence

UPDATED Opposition vice president Kem Sokha has been summonsed to appear in Phnom Penh Municipal Court for questioning over violence that erupted at a protest near the capital’s Freedom Park on Tuesday.

In a letter sent to Sokha this morning, investigating judge Keo Mony called on the deputy opposition leader to appear in court at 8am on July 25 to “be questioned to clarify [the opposition’s actions on Tuesday] as CNRP [deputy] leader.”

“Sokha has to be present on the scheduled time and bring along relevant documentation,” the letter said.

CNRP spokesman Yim Sovann confirmed that Sokha, who could not be reached for comment, had received the summons.

In a letter issued by Sokha today, the CNRP vice-president called on all CNRP lawmakers-elect to return to Cambodia due to the political crisis.

“I would like to inform to all lawmakers-elect who have been abroad privately or on a mission to end all activities and return to Cambodia immediately, excepting those who have serious health problems,” the letter read.

Opposition leader Sam Rainsy yesterday told the Post he would return from a visit to Europe “ASAP”.

Ten opposition members, including seven elected lawmakers, were charged yesterday with crimes ranging from insurrection – which can carry a maximum sentence of 30 years – to holding an illegal demonstration, following a protest at Freedom Park that descended into violent assaults on Daun Penh district security guards after the auxiliary force tried to forcefully break up the gathering.

CNRP lawmakers-elect Mu Sochua, Keo Phirom, Men Sothavarin, Ho Vann and Real Camerin, as well as opposition youth activist and assistant to Sochua, Oeun Narith, spent last night in Phnom Penh’s notorious Prey Sar prison awaiting trial.

Arrest warrants for lawmakers-elect Long Ry and Nuth Romduol were also issued by the court, according to CNRP chief whip Son Chhay. Another two party activists were also wanted by the authorities, CNRP defense lawyer Sam Sokong has told the Post.

Chhay told the Post this morning that Ry and Romduol were planning to stay in the capital and had not yet been arrested.

“They have expressed that they will not run away - if the CPP wants to arrest them they can. But at the moment they are well and in Phnom Penh. They have not been arrested yet,” he said.

He added that he would be requesting to visit the detained party members in prison tomorrow.

“I’m writing a letter to Mr Sar Kheng [interior minister] to see if I can visit them tomorrow.”

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