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Court confirms January 15 date for Sokha treason trial

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A panel of three judges is set to hear evidence at Sokha’s trial. Heng Chivoan

Court confirms January 15 date for Sokha treason trial

The Phnom Penh Municipal Court has summoned Kem Sokha to appear for trial on the charge of “conspiracy with a foreign power” on January 15.

Sokha, the former president of the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), was arrested in September 2017 and charged with treason.

The court said he committed the offence from 1993 to the date of his arrest. He faces a maximum of 30 years in prison if found guilty.

“The Phnom Penh Municipal Court orders Kem Sokha, 66, Cambodian (status: accused), to appear at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court on January 15 at 8:30am sharp to participate in the hearing on the charge brought against the individual,” read the summons sent to Sokha last week and obtained by The Post on Monday.

The trial will be chaired by three judges, with Koy Sao as presiding judge and Seng Leang and Theam Chanpiseth acting as consulting judges.

Lawyer for the government, Ky Tech, said he received an invitation from the court to take part in the hearing on Monday.

He said three other government lawyers – Ly Chantola, Sann Chuoy and Cheng Penghap – will also participate, while Sokha is represented by a team of four lawyers.

Sokha, he said, must be present at the hearing in line with the law.

“As part of the conditions of his release on bail when he was placed under court supervision, there is a stipulation which clearly states that he must arrive in court when summoned. In a criminal case, the accused must be present at the hearing,” Tech explained.

Chan Chen, one of Sokha’s lawyers, said: “[Sokha] respects the law. Even though he is not satisfied, he respects the court summons.”

Meng Sopheary, another of Sokha’s lawyers, said his legal team had not received the summons as of Monday. However, she said with the trial date approaching, documents and legal arguments were being prepared.

“In general, there must be an accomplice with a charge of conspiracy with a foreign power. If no foreigner is found to have been an accomplice to the crime, how can it be that there was a conspiracy with a foreign power?” Sopheary asked.

Tech said evidence will be presented at trial after which the court will make a ruling.

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