Cambodia National Rescue Party deputy leader Kem Sokha was yesterday served with a summons to appear at Phnom Penh Municipal Court on April 8 over accusations he incited the deadly Veng Sreng Boulevard riots in January last year.
Choung Choungy, lawyer for Sokha, said the summons by deputy prosecutor Ly Sophanna, delivered to Sokha’s National Assembly Office, didn’t specify an accusation, but stated the case occurred on January 3, 2014, when security forces opened fire on striking garment workers, killing five.
Choungy, said it was the second time his client had been called for questioning over the riot at Canadia Industrial Park, adding that the recent summons stemmed from the same complaint by the Ministry of Interior’s internal security department made in January last year, when Sokha was questioned alongside CNRP leader Sam Rainsy.
“The court questioned him in January 2014 on incitement to commit crime or commit activity to cause chaos to social security,” Choungy said, adding that he couldn’t say whether Sokha would appear for questioning.
Speaking yesterday, Rainsy said it was “strange” that Sokha had been called for questioning as he enjoyed parliamentary immunity, adding the accusations were unfounded.
“Whoever raises it, raises it for the wrong reasons, which has nothing to do justice; if it has nothing to do with justice, it can only be political.” Asked why he thought he wasn’t summonsed himself, Rainsy said: “The next in line will be me.”
The letter comes just weeks after Prime Minister Hun Sen called on the courts to take action against the firebrand deputy CNRP leader for supposedly having admitted that he tried to topple the government following the 2013 election.
Political analyst Chea Vannath said the summons appeared to be a government ploy to split the opposition. “They want to create tension in the CNRP, to see if they deal with it as a party or as individuals,” she said.