Search form

Login - Register | FOLLOW US ON

Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - SRP’s Sok Hour arrested

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
SRP Senator Hong Sok Hour is escorted into the Phnom Penh Municipal Court by armed police on Saturday after being detained by authorities. Heng Chivoan

SRP’s Sok Hour arrested

Opposition Senator Hong Sok Hour was sent to Prey Sar prison yesterday and charged with forgery and incitement, just three days after Prime Minister Hun Sen publicly accused him of treason.

In a report filed to acting Senate President Nay Pena, Phnom Penh Municipal Court prosecutor Yet Chakrya said the Sam Rainsy Party senator had been charged under three articles of the Kingdom’s Criminal Code, which could carry a combined maximum prison sentence of 17 years.

“After examining the evidence collected, we can see that the above case involved crimes of forging a public document, using a forged public document, and incitement to cause serious unrest for social security,” Chakrya wrote.

Sok Hour went into hiding after Hun Sen, in a speech on Thursday morning, accused him of posting a “fake” section of the 1979 Cambodia-Vietnam border treaty to his Facebook page on Wednesday, and called for his “urgent” arrest.

The senator was arrested at the home of Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) lawmaker Yon Tharo early on Saturday morning by armed police.

In a separate letter to Pena yesterday, Phnom Penh Municipal Court investigating judge Kor Vandy confirmed the three charges and Sok Hour’s subsequent detention in Prey Sar’s Correctional Centre 1, which he said was decided on in accordance with the law.

However, defence lawyer Choung Choungy yesterday said the action flew in the face of protections awarded to Senators under the constitution.

“It is not legal,” he said. “His detention is contrary to article 104 of the constitution, which states that senators have immunity [and] cannot be detained.”

Article 104 grants senators broad-based immunity from arrest, except in cases when the body itself approves it, or if a senator is caught red-handed in a criminal act.

Choungy said he will appeal against the court’s decision today, and attempt to secure bail by paying an undisclosed fee.

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
ists gather to protest the arrest of Sam Rainsy Party Senator Hong Sok Hour. Heng Chivoan

However, despite Senate immunity, observers yesterday said they were unsurprised by the action against Sok Hour.

“Basically, all of these charges follow the lead of what was said by Hun Sen,” said independent analyst Ou Virak.

Virak said Sok Hour had showed “really poor judgment” by posting the documents “with no basic check of whether they were real or not”, but argued that “he should be told to apologise” rather than be sent to prison.

He added that the measures against Sok Hour could be interpreted as a message from the premier that further action over the hotly contested Vietnamese border areas will not be tolerated.

“Maybe this is Hun Sen closing that chapter,” he said.

As Sok Hour was sent to pre-trial detention yesterday, CNRP president Sam Rainsy returned from a trip to France, vowing to attempt to secure the release of the senator and 14 other CNRP members currently imprisoned on “insurrection” charges.

“I came to initiate ways to make all the detainees be released.

The result I want to see is for the detainees to be released all together,” he said.

The opposition leader said he plans to meet with Hun Sen to resolve the issue, but did not reveal details of when that might be.

Despite the ongoing arrests of his members, Rainsy once again defended the so-called “culture of dialogue” between the two parties – a period of uneasy detente that has seen the opposition temper its criticism of the ruling party in recent months – arguing that it could be used to secure their release.

“Twice in the past, in July 2014 and April 2015, through the culture of dialogue, we reached a solution to the issue resulting from the arrest and detention of a number of CNRP officials and activists,” he wrote on his Facebook page.

“I hope that this time, in August 2015, a similar solution to a similar problem could also be reached.”

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY ALICE CUDDY

1

Comments

Please, login or register to post a comment
Asok's picture

CPP and CNRP are trapped in their old habits which have cost and benefit. CNRP have old habit of over inflated border and Vietnamese immigrants issue and violate minor national law. CPP has old habit of unilateral, over reaction using the government power to imprison or punish the CNRP offenders. Thus, CPP falls into CNRP trap as being authoritarian, oppressive government violating democratic principles, which lead to alienation of voters in the next election cycle. CNRP falls in CPP trap of exaggerate national issues and violate minor laws result court summon and imprisonment, which lead perception of CNRP leaders as weak and fracture of CNRP. CPP strategy and tactic are good for short stability but sacrifice long viability in a democratic society unless it plan to abandon such principle. CNRP tactic and strategy are bad for short term, by perception of weak leadership and dissent among CNRP supporters, but in long term will gain popular by trap CPP into old authoritarian habits. Best policy for both parties is restrained, CNRP from exaggeration and violate minor laws and CPP from unilateral over reaction. Restrain and proportionality in actions and consequences are the true working principle of stable, democratic society.

Latest Video

ACLEDA’s boss on how tech is changing financial services

In today’s world of fast-changing technology, Cambodia is seeing increasing innovation in financial services.

ACLEDA President In Channy on the key to the bank’s success

Post Khmer Editor-in-Chief Kay Kimsong sat down with Dr In Channy, President and Group Managing Director of ACLEDA Bank Plc, to explore the main principle guiding Cambodia’s biggest bank.

A taste of Phnom Penh's first container night market

At the launch of Phnom Penh's newest market, The Post spoke to customers and stallholders about what the hub of bars, food stalls, shops and live music will add to the city's nightlife.