Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Hopes high for Kem Sokha release

Hopes high for Kem Sokha release

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Kem Sokha is shown during his midnight arrest last year. afp

Hopes high for Kem Sokha release

Several observers expressed optimism this week that the Supreme Court may release Kem Sokha on bail on Wednesday or at the latest by the end of next month.

However, a government spokesperson said such predictions were fanciful and that the courts do not take political matters into account when making decisions.

The court is set to convene today on a bail request by the former president of the court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party, according to his lawyer Phan Chansak.

“The second round of trials on his six-month detention starts on Wednesday. I hope on that day, the Supreme Court will consider again my client’s request to be released on bail so that he can get treatment for his ailments,” Chansak said.

However, speaking on Tuesday, court spokesman Nov Mony Choth said Sokha would not be present at the trial.

Sokha has been absent from most of the proceedings. He is being held at a Tbong Khmum province detention centre, with authorities citing “security concerns” for not bringing him to the capital.

Sokha was charged with conspiring with foreign powers after he was arrested in a midnight raid on September 3 last year. If convicted, he could face up to 30 years behind bars.

Cambodian Confederation of Unions head Rong Chuun said the political situation was better in the Kingdom after the National Election Committee (NEC) declared the official results of the July 29 national election last week.

The ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) now controls all 125 seats in the National Assembly.

“Based on recent political developments, I expect that Kem Sokha might be released on bail by the Supreme Court this Wednesday or after the creation of the new government.

“This is the CPP’s strategy after a national election victory in order to gain support from national and international communities,” Chhun claimed.

Transparency International Cambodia executive director Preap Kol echoed that, in order to ease political tensions and respond to condemnations from international communities, it is sensible to expect a favourable decision in Sokha’s bail request.

“International communities will welcome such a political development but they should know by now to take into account previous experience of Cambodia’s political game.”

Responding to the predictions, Ministry of Justice spokesman Kem Santepheap said such statements were ridiculous.

“Political issues and court cases are two different things. In Sokha’s case, releasing him or not is at the court’s discretion. It is absolutely ridiculous to make predictions relating to the court like this,” he said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Cambodia armed with money laundering laws

    Money laundering will now carry a penalty of up to five years in prison while those convicted of financing terrorists will be jailed for up to 20 years, according to new laws promulgated by King Norodom Sihamoni and seen by The Post on Thursday. Comprising nine

  • Schools to be reopened in ‘three stages’

    With guidance from Prime Minister Hun Sen, the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, is in the process of reopening schools in three stages. But no timeline has been set, ministry spokesperson Ros Soveacha said on Thursday. Soveacha said the first stage will be to

  • Thai border crossings eased

    The Cambodian Embassy in Thailand said in an announcement on Wednesday that Thailand’s government has allowed certain passengers from several countries to enter its borders. The visitors must go back to their country immediately after their duties in Thailand are fulfilled, the embassy said.

  • Gov’t says tourism recovers slightly despite pandemic

    The Ministry of Tourism and the Phnom Penh municipal administration have recognised 33 tourism businesses in the capital which have consistently implemented safety measures for tourists and adhered to the code of conduct issued by the ministry. Recently, the ministry announced that tourism businesses had to

  • Mull ASEAN border opening, PM urges

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has requested that ASEAN launch a scenario for gradually reopening cross-border travel and trade between countries in the region. He said ASEAN has had more success combating Covid-19 compared to other regions. The prime minister’s request was made at the

  • Ministry reports 11 new Covid-19 cases, reiterates vigilance

    Minister of Health Mam Bun Heng has urged people to continue practising virus prevention techniques after 11 people tested positive for Covid-19 within two days after arriving in the Kingdom. Speaking on Sunday, Bun Heng stressed the importance of washing hands, wearing masks or scarves when

  • Nine on Indonesia flight Covid-19 positive

    The Ministry of Health on Saturday confirmed nine more imported cases of Covid-19. The nine ‒ eight Cambodians and one Indonesian, aged 22 to 26 ‒ arrived in Cambodia on Thursday via a direct flight from Indonesia and are receiving treatment at the Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hostipal in Phnom Penh.

  • Kingdom’s financial sector healthy

    Cambodia's financial sector remains on a sustainable growth path despite the Covid-19 pandemic squeezing crucial industries, National Bank of Cambodia (NBC) governor Chea Chanto said. Tourism, garments and footwear have borne the brunt of the Covid-19 impact, he said, whereas the financial and agriculture sectors

  • Vietnam told to remove border tents

    Kandal provincial governor Kong Sophoan has ordered local authorities to prohibit the construction of buildings in areas bordering Cambodia and to report any irregularities immediately. Recently, Vietnamese officials removed another seven tents from the border area with Cambodia. His remarks were made on Wednesday afternoon

  • Migrant workers set to return from Malaysia

    The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation confirmed on Thursday that 158 Cambodian students and migrant workers will fly home from Malaysia on Friday morning. This is the second flight to bring Cambodians home from Malaysia. A ministry notice said Malaysia Airlines Flight MH754 will