Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Kim Sok vows to ‘double’ push for democracy after prison release

Kim Sok vows to ‘double’ push for democracy after prison release

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Kim Sok is shown at the capital’s municipal court last week to undergo questioning over a second set of charges against him. Pha Lina

Kim Sok vows to ‘double’ push for democracy after prison release

Kim Sok, who was released on Friday from the Prey Sar prison where he served a one-and-a-half-year sentence on charges of incitement and defamation brought by the Cambodian People’s Party (CPP), has vowed to double his efforts to promote democracy in the Kingdom.

However, CPP spokesman Sok Eysan warned the analyst that he could court more trouble if he fails to speak the truth.

Sok was sentenced on charges stemming from comments he made regarding the murder of Kem Ley, who was killed in broad daylight in 2016 by a gunman who referred to himself in Khmer as Choub Samlab or “meet to kill”.

He was detained in February last year for his comments after a lawsuit was filed by CPP lawyer Ky Tech.

Speaking to The Post on Sunday, Sok claimed he wouldn’t dial back his criticisms of the government, but rather, double down on it.

“My working habit is my nature since I was born. I promised before I was jailed that I would speak the truth. They imprisoned me. So when I got out of prison I doubled my work.

“I would not incite or defame as they accused and jailed me [of doing]. Double work means I will continue my mission to promote democracy, at least twice as much as I used to do before.

“I won’t stop. Nobody must stop but continue to strengthen the spirit of democracy,” he said.

When asked if he worried about another arrest while commenting on issues in the future, Sok said he did have his fears.

“If I said, I wasn’t worried I would be lying ... I am only human. I am worried, and I am afraid just like normal people. However, my worries and fears are limited ... I am worried that I have little time to work on my mission, to promote democracy in Cambodia,” he said.

Eysan said it was Sok’s right to make comments, but warned that he could face challenges if he didn’t speak the truth.

“That is his right. He is entitled to be an analyst, but his work must connect with reality which makes his analysis ethical.

“If his analysis is politically motivated and intended as an attack on the ruling party or the government, that might cause problems for him,” Eysan said.

The sentence that landed Sok in prison was delivered by the Phnom Penh Municipal Court in August last year.

Confirming charges of “incitement to commit a felony and public defamation” the court sentenced him to 18 months incarceration and ordered him to pay a fine of 800 million riel ($200,000) to Prime Minister Hun Sen.

MOST VIEWED

  • Purging Sihanoukville’s past with a new masterplan

    Amid illicit activities, haphazard development and abandoned projects, the coastal city of Sihanouk province needs a reset to move forward. A new masterplan might be the answer to shake off its seemingly mucky image to become the Shenzhen of the south Gun toting, shootouts, police

  • WHO: Covid in Cambodia goes into new phase

    The World Health Organisation (WHO) in Cambodia said that Cambodia has reached a new phase of the pandemic with “decreasing case numbers, high vaccination coverage and a more transmissible circulating variant threatening a hidden surge”. In a press release on September 6, the WHO said that

  • Chinese may be first in tourism revival: PM

    Cambodia's tourism industry is gearing up to roll out the red carpet for Chinese travellers after Prime Minister Hun Sen on September 17 indicated that the Kingdom could soon throw open its doors to international holidaymakers vaccinated against Covid-19 – starting with guests from China. Cambodia Chinese

  • 'Pursue your goals, reach out to me': Young diplomat tapped as envoy to South Korea

    Chring Botum Rangsay was a secretary of state at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation before being designated as the new Cambodian ambassador to South Korea. According to her official CV published on the foreign ministry’s website, she started her first government

  • Tourism concerns laid bare

    To ensure the success of plans to reopen the tourism market for international visitors, Cambodia must pay utmost attention to two primary determinants – the ongoing paradigm shift in domestic tourism services towards the ‘new normal’, and the factors influencing choices of destinations among foreign holidaymakers.

  • Covid jab drive for 6-11 age group to begin Sept 17

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has permitted Covid-19 vaccinations for over 1.8 million children aged 6-11 across the country from September 17 in order for them to return to school after a long hiatus. Hun Sen also hinted that vaccinations for the 3-6 age group will follow in