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Court swats down Kim Sok bail bid

Political analyst Kim Sok is escorted into a police vehicle after he was denied bail at the Appeal Court yesterday in Phnom Penh.
Political analyst Kim Sok is escorted into a police vehicle after he was denied bail at the Appeal Court yesterday in Phnom Penh. Heng Chivoan

Court swats down Kim Sok bail bid

The Court of Appeal yesterday rejected political analyst Kim Sok’s bid to end his pretrial detention, the same day that four members of the “Adhoc 5” appeared at the Supreme Court to contest their own.

Sok is being sued by Prime Minister Hun Sen for more than half a million dollars in two defamation and incitement cases related to comments made about the assassination of Kem Ley.

He faces a potential two years of imprisonment. After the hearing, Sok accused the premier of sending people to speak to him in Prey Sar prison to persuade him to send an apology letter. He also said the prime minister threatened to “jail [him] in the dark cell” if he did not agree to do so.

“I will not do that; I will not betray the people,” Sok said.

The prime minister’s attorney, Ky Tech, yesterday decried Sok’s allegations as baseless.

“Now he wants to commit a new crime: He talked without evidence,” he said.

Tech said the court had upheld the analyst’s detention because Sok “might commit new crimes, as . . . he has not stopped his illegal acts and . . . continues to incite”.

Council of Ministers spokesman Phay Siphan also brushed aside Sok’s claim that the premier had sent envoys to convince him to apologise, characterising it as a ploy for attention.

“Prime Minister Hun Sen does not need to send people to persuade [Sok],” he said, adding it would not be worth the effort given that Sok is not a high-profile political persona.

A few hours earlier, judge Soeng Panhavuth heard an appeal by four jailed Adhoc officials held in relation to an alleged affair involving opposition president Kem Sokha against their ongoing detention, saying a decision would be handed down on March 13.

Adhoc worker Yi Soksan, one of those detained, said that their release on bail would show “a fair court”.

“Most of the court officials who are very old should spare the last part of their lives to help people, rather than committing unfair deeds,” he said.

Defence lawyer Lor Chunthy argued that his clients “will not escape” if granted bail. Prosecutor Chan Dararaksmey, however, claimed that “if they stay outside, they could cause more problems”.

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