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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - SRP senator’s trial commences

Seang Chet is escorted through the Phnom Penh Appeal Court grounds in July before a hearing.
Seang Chet is escorted through the Phnom Penh Appeal Court grounds in July before a hearing. Pha Lina

SRP senator’s trial commences

Opposition Senator Thak Lany’s defamation trial commenced on Friday afternoon, with the prosecution warning defence witnesses against perjury during questioning.

The Sam Rainsy Party senator, whose whereabouts are unknown, is being sued for defamation and incitement by Prime Minister Hun Sen for allegedly suggesting that the premier was behind the killing of political analyst Kem Ley while addressing supporters in Ratanakkiri province.

Sam Sokong, who is representing Lany, said he was not happy with the prosecutor Ly Sophanna’s repeated interruptions of his questioning of three defence witnesses, in which the prosecutor admonished them to be careful with their testimonies.

“The defence lawyer can ask questions to find justice for the defendant, but the prosecutor kept rejecting my questions,” he said, speaking to reporters after the hearing.

The prosecution’s case was based on a purported video recording of Lany’s interactions with supporters, though Sokong maintains he has a different recording that he will present when the trial resumes on November 2 to establish his client’s innocence.

Meanwhile, earlier in the day, jailed Sam Rainsy Party commune chief Seang Chet’s trial was postponed. Chet, who has been jailed since April, is facing bribery charges related to acting CNRP president Kem Sokha’s alleged sex scandal. Chet is charged with paying Sokha’s alleged mistress’ mother, Seang Lot, $500 on behalf of the opposition leader.

Friday’s trial was postponed until November 11 because none of the witnesses were present in court, with the defence requesting that Sokha’s alleged mistress, Khom Chandaraty, also be summonsed.

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