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Sokha still defiant as trial enters sixth week

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Kem Sokha said he agreed to establish the CNRP to reach the goal of free and fair elections in the Kingdom. Heng Chivoan

Sokha still defiant as trial enters sixth week

At his treason trial at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Wednesday, the former president of the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) Kem Sokha denied he had any plans to stage a colour revolution.

Sokha said this after a prosecutor showed a video as evidence that Sokha’s former colleague Sam Rainsy had intended to use the armed forces to bring down the government.

As the trial entered its sixth week, prosecutors questioned Sokha over his links to Rainsy and the establishment of the CNRP.

Sokha was asked why he collaborated with Rainsy to form the party as prosecutors claimed Rainsy wanted to bring down the government, pointing to the video that showed him urging the armed forces to bring down the government.

“I conduct politics in a non-violent manner. I don’t consider any Khmer to be the enemy. I don’t wage a colour revolution. I don’t shed Khmer blood. I don’t work with anyone who strays away from this. Whoever uses violence, please stay away from me,” Sokha responded.

Sokha said he agreed to establish the party to reach the goal of free and fair elections in the Kingdom.

Prosecutors continued to grill him on the CNRP’s establishment, going over the process of negotiating with Rainsy in Paris and the Philippines in July 2012 to reach an agreement.

They asked him who started the negotiations, who came up with the party name and who also designed the party logo, along with who formed and led the political strategies of the party.

Sokha responded that he and Rainsy formed the party and led it without the help of any foreigners in order to help all Cambodians.

He said he and Rainsy spent their own money to rent a headquarters and a place for negotiations in the Philippines, noting all negotiations were held between Khmers.

Sokha also requested the court summon a Facebook user by the name “Kon Khmer” for clarification.

Sokha’s reaction came after the prosecution referred to the Facebook post of Kon Khmer saying that the negotiations between Sokha and Rainsy in the Philippines had been coordinated by the president of the International Republican Institute (IRI).

“Facebook Kon Khmer’ is an anonymous person who spread untrue information. I won’t answer and if the prosecutor wants to know clearly, call the Facebook owner ‘Kon Khmer’ to ask them,” Sokha said.

The prosecutor asked Sokha about the real intention stipulated in the joint statement of the party saying that the party would have rescued the country from disasters, invasion and dictatorship.

Sokha answered: “This is the concept of politicians who cannot be prohibited from such opinions.”

Prosecutors pinpointed the words ‘ending dictatorial power’ from the CNRP as well, and Sokha answered that the meaning of the word ‘ending’ was not to overthrow, but a change in leadership through free and fair elections in line with democracy.

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