Opposition leader Kem Sokha was released on bail this morning after more than a year in pre-trial detention at Trapiang Thlong prison, also known as Correctional Centre 3 (CC3). He was held on treason charges.
One of his lawyers Chan Chen confirmed the release and said Sokha would stay out of public view for now.
“Kem Sokha, my client was allowed by the investigative judge to get bail. But he is under court surveillance with some conditions,” Chen said this morning in front of Sokha’s residence in the capital’s Tuol Kork district.
“He would like to say sorry to Cambodians and supporters who wish to meet him. But at this moment, he would like to excuse himself as he is unable to meet them” the lawyer said.
A letter from investigative judge Ky Rithy made public by Fresh News was sent to CC3 on September 9, ordering the prison chief to release Sokha. Another letter from CC3 chief Pin Yan said he was released on bail.
“Released [Kem Soka] on bail. In order [for him] to live at his house at …. This letter must be handed to commune police station within three days of his return home,” Pin Yan’s letter said.
Chen said Sokha was well “physical and mentality”. When asked if Sokha would be under house arrest, the lawyer said he has not seen the conditions of the release as yet.
A Phnom Penh municipal court spokesperson announced this morning that the release came with conditions in accordance to legal procedures.
“The decision was made after considering his health condition and with legal assurance that the accused Kem Sokha would not flee from court proceedings,” the letter said.
Sokha was arrested after midnight on September 3, last year. He was brought right away to CC3 in Tboung Khmum province.
He was charged with conspiring with foreign countries and faces up to 30 years in jail. In November, his Cambodian National Rescue Party was dissolved by the Supreme Court on charges of carrying out a color revolution.
This morning, a few hundred of Sokha’s supporters gathered in front of his house to show support for his release.