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Breaking: Ministry lawyers give evidence against CNRP in dissolution hearing

The gates of the Supreme Court in Phnom Penh this morning.
The gates of the Supreme Court in Phnom Penh this morning. Hong Menea

Breaking: Ministry lawyers give evidence against CNRP in dissolution hearing

Ministry of Interior lawyers this morning presented more than 20 pieces of evidence to support their request to dissolve the opposition CNRP, including videos of party President Kem Sokha and former leader Sam Rainsy, audio recordings and media reports.

The Supreme Court is now back in session after a two-hour lunch break. During the morning session, Interior Ministry lawyer Ky Tech and fellow lawyer Ly Chantola presented the evidence, calling for the dissolution of the CNRP and the blacklisting of 118 senior members of the party.

The CNRP has not sent legal representation for the case and Sokha, currently jailed in Tbong Khmum province on charges of "treason", was not present at the hearing.

“They created many protests to topple the [government] leaders in order to grab power, like in Yugoslavia, Serbia and Tunisia,” Tech said, as he presented a video of Kem Sokha telling supporters in Australia he had received assistance from the US in planning his political career, as well as video of Sam Rainsy calling on armed forces to turn their weapons against the government.

The lawyers also proceeded to link Pa Nguon Teang, executive director of Cambodian Center for Independent Media; Vorn Pao, president of local union IDEA; and former US Ambassador William Todd to the post-election demonstrations in 2013, which the government have sought to characterise as an attempted "colour revolution".

The team presented videos from Voice of America and audio recordings from Radio Free Asia that they claimed linked the three to the CNRP as well.

Following the presentation of evidence, court Prosecutor Chea Leang said the Interior Ministry’s lawsuit was legally sound and that the activities of CNRP senior leaders from as long as two decades ago - years before the party's creation - were illegal.

“The prosecutor thinks that activity of Kem Sokha, Sam Rainsy and CNRP's leaders from 1993 to 2017 are illegal,” she said.

On leaving the court, Tech said that the morning session was reserved for the presentation of evidence, with the judges expected to discuss the merits of the case after lunch.

“The next phase, the presiding judge will discuss [the case] and when they come back they will announce the result this evening at 5 or 6pm,” he said.

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