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CPP: ‘Behave or Sokha suffers’

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Kem Monovithya, daughter of imprisoned former party leader Kem Sokha, attends an opposition rally in 2013 in Phnom Penh. Photo supplied

CPP: ‘Behave or Sokha suffers’

The ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) spokesman warned Kem Monovithya on Thursday that her attempt to damage “national reputation and prestige” would lead to her father, Kem Sokha, receiving even harsher punishment.

Sok Eysan issued the warning as Monovithya, who is the court dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party’s (CNRP) former deputy director-general of public affairs, is known to be lobbying the international community to put pressure on the government to drop all charges against her father and former CNRP leader.

Eysan said on Thursday that Monovithya’s “advocacy” and “commitment” in seeking international intervention will lead to “serious punishment” for Sokha.

“Kem Sokha’s daughter is [stepping up] commitment and advocacy in demanding the international community [call for the] dropping of all charges against her father for treason and conspiring with foreign powers."

“Her efforts are her rights, but if her effort impacts national reputation and prestige, it will not help reduce her father’s punishment. It will cause more burden to her father."

“Any effort in seeking the release of the defendant must not tantamount to an attempt to shame your own nation or attack the legitimate Cambodian government,” he told The Post.

Eysan said Monovithya should instead find a good lawyer to defend her father in court according to law.

“If you just want to release the defendant and you defame Cambodia, it would not help free him, but it will lead to more serious punishment,” he said, without elaborating.

Ou Chanrath, a former CNRP lawmaker, said the ruling party is the one that undermined the nation’s reputation and prestige when it dissolving the CNRP and arrested Sokha.

“Regarding Kem Monovithya’s efforts to seek intervention from the international community and the UN to [pressure the government] to drop all charges against her father, it’s the right thing to do,” he said.

Chanrath said the international community can put pressure on the ruling party to return to democracy and seek a political compromise for national interests.

“If we talk about reputation and prestige, the ruling party damaged it after it dissolved the CNRP and detained its leader, which led the international community to put Cambodia under scrutiny,” he said.

Political analyst Em Sovannara said he would support the government if Monovithya did break the law. But, he said, her efforts are meant to help her father and were not against the law.

“If she [Monovithya] calls on the international community to help Kem Sokha in her capacity as a CNRP member or activist, it’s not wrong. Also, if she does so as a daughter, there is also nothing wrong."

“It would be wrong if her actions were against the law. Then I would support the government. But If she follows the laws, it is her freedom to express her views,” he said.

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