Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Kem Sokha to ignore order to appear at Appeal Court hearing



Kem Sokha to ignore order to appear at Appeal Court hearing

Khom Chandaraty (right), the alleged mistress of acting CNRP leader Kem Sokha, leaves the Phnom Penh Municipal Court last month.
Khom Chandaraty (right), the alleged mistress of acting CNRP leader Kem Sokha, leaves the Phnom Penh Municipal Court last month. Pha Lina

Kem Sokha to ignore order to appear at Appeal Court hearing

Acting CNRP president Kem Sokha will not appear at an Appeal Court hearing today regarding a motion made by his own attorneys, while two fellow opposition lawmakers facing the potential stripping of their parliamentary immunity in the legal maelstrom surrounding Sokha are overseas.

Hem Socheat, one of Sokha’s five attorneys, said the opposition leader was under no legal obligation to appear before the court over a motion filed by his lawyers contesting a previous Phnom Penh Municipal Court summons – itself accusing Sokha of a crime for ignoring earlier summonses.

“The lawyers are the complainants because they see the actions of the Phnom Penh Municipal Court prosecutor as contrary to court procedures, so they appealed to nullify [the summons],” Socheat said.

Sokha, being sued by his alleged mistress Khom Chandaraty, aka Srey Mom, for $300,000 and facing accusations for “procurement of prostitution” – cases widely considered politically motivated – has ignored summonses related to the cases, claiming parliamentary immunity.

The CNRP has maintained that no lawmaker associated with Sokha’s alleged sex scandal will respond to summonses, including Tok Vanchan and Pin Ratana, both of whom face charges related to prostitution for allegedly facilitating the trysts.

Kem Sokha speaks to supporters from Takeo province yesterday at the CNRP headquarters in Phnom Penh. Photo supplied
Kem Sokha speaks to supporters from Takeo province yesterday at the CNRP headquarters in Phnom Penh. Photo supplied

While other opposition lawmakers have been summarily arrested in spite of their parliamentary immunity – with ruling party officials characterising their cases as “red-handed” crimes – the Justice Ministry on Friday followed constitutional procedure in requesting the National Assembly to lift Vanchan and Ratana’s immunity, a move that would require a two-thirds majority vote.

However, CNRP spokesman Yim Sovann yesterday said the two lawmakers were currently visiting their families in the United States after parliament went on recess, with fellow opposition lawmaker Eng Chhay Eang adding that they had left the country before the Justice Ministry’s request.

“We will wait to see how the National Assembly behaves with regards this case, given that there is no official decision yet,” Sovann said.Neither lawmaker could be reached yesterday.

National Assembly spokesman Leng Peng Long said he had received the ministry’s request and would forward it to the Permanent Standing Committee, but that may happen only in October, once the assembly reconvenes after a three-month recess.

“When the National Assembly comes back from vacation, it will depend on the permanent committee,” he said. “I cannot comment because there has been no meeting yet.”

The CPP’s 68 lawmakers have previously used an exception to get around Sokha’s parliamentary immunity, declaring that he had been caught for a “flagrant” offense for refusing to appear for court summonses.

MOST VIEWED

  • Would you like fries with that? US burger chain makes Phnom Penh debut

    California-based The Habit Burger Grill restaurant chain is all set to serve up a delicious array of charbroiled burgers and sides at its newest international location in the centre of Phnom Penh. The Habit is “renowned for its award-winning Charburgers grilled over an open flame,

  • Banteay Meanchey flood victims receive aid

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Wednesday provided aid to more than 10,000 families affected by flooding in Banteay Meanchey province’s Mongkol Borei district and offered his condolences to the 18 victims who drowned in the province over the past week. He said flooding had occured in

  • PM urges caution as Polish man tests positive for Covid

    The Ministry of Health on Wednesday reported that a 47-year-old Polish man tested positive for Covid-19 after arriving in Cambodia on Monday. There are a total of six Covid-19 patients currently in the country, all of whom are being treated at the Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hospital

  • Banteay Meanchey floods kill one more as death toll reaches 15

    As floodwaters start to recede in Pursat, Battambang and Pailin provinces and Phnom Penh, Banteay Meanchey continues to bear the brunt as one more person was killed on Monday, bringing the total number of flood-related deaths to 15 in the province this month. Banteay Meanchey provincial

  • Serving coffee with a side of robots

    The eye-catching glass building surrounded by greenery at the intersection of Streets 371 and 2002 in Phnom Penh’s Sen Sok district is more than just another coffee shop where you can while away a few hours. UrHobby House cafe is filled with robots and characters from

  • Floods prompt evacuations in Kampong Speu

    Rain-induced floods and water flowing from Kampong Speu province have submerged the houses of 1,527 families living close to the Prek Thnot River in Spean Thma, Tien, Kong Noy and Roluos communes in Phnom Penh’s Dangkor district, according to data from local authorities. Spean Thma