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Former CNRP adviser Kong Korm to testify in Kem Sokha court date

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Former CNRP top adviser Kong Korm during an interview with The Post last year. Heng Chivoan

Former CNRP adviser Kong Korm to testify in Kem Sokha court date

FORMER politician Kong Korm said he is willing to appear before Phnom Penh Municipal Court to testify in relation to the treason charge facing Kem Sokha, president of the banned opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP).

Korm, a former top adviser to the Supreme Court-dissolved CNRP, said he received a court summons on Friday calling for him to appear at court on January 23 as a witness in Sokha’s case, in which he is charged with “conspiring with a foreign power to overthrow the government”.

“As a citizen and someone who used to be involved in activities with Kem Sokha, I won’t hesitate to accept any call to clarify matters in front of the investigating judge,” Korm said on Monday.

Sokha, a co-founder of the CNRP with Sam Rainsy, was arrested at midnight on September 2, 2017, and charged with treason according to Article 443 of the Criminal Code.

He faces between 15 and 30 years in prison if found guilty.

Two months later, his party was dissolved by the Supreme Court, with 118 of its senior officials banned from politics for five years.

Korm said he had been with the CNRP since 2012 when two main opposition parties – Sokha’s Human Rights Party and his Sam Rainsy Party – merged to compete in the 2013 national election as the CNRP.

The merger resulted in the new opposition party winning 55 of the 123 seats in the National Assembly.

“I know some things [regarding the case] but not much. So what I know I will tell the investigating judge in order that he can have complete information to help the court provide justice for the charged person. I don’t know what the judge will ask me."

“As a witness, I will clarify what I know. I am sure that I am not the one who would add burden [to Sokha] or relieve the burden from him. Those who [may do so] are the lawyers on both sides. I will not invent or perjure what I know,” he said.

Phan Chansak, one of Sokha’s four defence lawyers, said that as a lawyer in the case, he was not allowed to comment on witnesses called by the investigating judge.

“Co-lawyers cannot comment on witnesses because this is an ongoing investigation to complete any lack of information as required by the prosecutor,” he said.

Chansak said Kong Korm was not a member of the CNRP but a former acting president of the Sam Rainsy Party, which changed its name to the Candlelight Party after the merger.

So far, around 10 witnesses had been called for questioning.

The case’s Investigating Judge Ky Rithy and a municipal court spokesperson did not respond to questions from The Post.

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