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Sokha trial resumes with protest video questioning

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Former opposition leader Kem Sokha greets his supporters as he leaves the Phnom Penh Municipal Court on January 25. Heng Chivoan

Sokha trial resumes with protest video questioning

A Phnom Penh municipal court prosecutor has continued to question Kem Sokha, former president of the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue (CNRP), as his trial for treason resumed on July 13.

Sokha was charged in late 2017 with “conspiring with a foreign power” to topple the government.

Phnom Penh Municipal Court spokesman Plang Sophal told The Post on July 13 that the prosecution continued to question Sokha over videos purporting to show people how to hold demonstrations, how to protest and, led by the accused and CNRP leaders, how to change the leadership of the country.

Chan Chen, one of Sokha's defence lawyers, told reporters in front of the court building that the prosecutor had played videos showing demonstrations held at Freedom Park. In one video, Sokha said that, having met with the people, he would go to meet with a superpower.

"On being asked which superpower he had meant, Sokha had responded that all embassies in the Kingdom have been friends of Cambodia, not enemies, since the Paris Peace Agreements of October 23, 1991.

“The embassies have come to help Cambodia, they are not our enemies, Sokha said, and did not reveal with whom he met,” Chen said.

Neither Sokha, politicians nor ordinary people were prohibited by law from meeting with diplomats, he added.

Chen said the prosecutor was trying to place all the responsibility for the demonstrations onto his client, which he said was like “one person paying for all sitting at one table”.

Sokha had answered all questions in the past, is doing so in the present and would continue to do so in the future, he added.

Sokha had always worked in a non-violent and peaceful manner, particularly having participated legally in national elections, Chen said, and had never committed any act of violence, staged a colour evolution or attempted to topple the government as charged.

The trial will continue on July 20.

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