A Justice Ministry spokesman yesterday lashed out at European Union representatives for a statement condemning the “judicial harassment” of opposition leader Kem Sokha, while the Ministry of Education slammed a teachers union that backed the CNRP acting president.
The statements – delivered separately – come as the government faces mounting criticism over a slew of legal cases widely believed to be part of a political crackdown against Sokha, his party and members of civil society.
In a statement on Monday, the EU delegation called for the government to cease using the judiciary to harass its political opponents.
In a response uploaded to the Cambodian People’s Party website, Justice Ministry spokesman Kim Santepheap yesterday chided the EU for interfering, stating that “each country has its own law”.
Santepheap attempted to draw a parallel to the case of Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the former head of the International Monetary Fund who was arrested in New York in 2011 following allegations he sexually assaulted a maid (the charges were later dropped).
He asked why the EU did not issue a statement when the US held the French national, apparently suggesting that somehow constituted a double standard, despite the strikingly different circumstances of the cases.
Meanwhile, the Education Ministry yesterday condemned the Cambodian Independent Teachers Association for threatening to call a strike if Sokha is arrested.
The statement accused the union of lacking independence and serving the opposition party. In a response, the union’s acting director, Ouk Chayavy, hit back, accusing the ministry of being controlled by the ruling CPP.