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

  • Ethnic group ‘disappointed’ to be denied French visas to attend court

    Eleven people at the centre of a case involving seven indigenous Bunong villages in Mondulkiri province pursuing legal action in France have expressed disappointment after the French embassy in Phnom Penh denied their visa applications to attend court. A press release said the 11 included a

  • Cambodia nabs 12th place in best retirement destinations

    Cambodia is an expatriate hotspot for those dreaming of living a more luxurious lifestyle at an affordable cost, according to International Living’s Annual Global Retirement Index 2019. For the fourth year in a row, Cambodia took the top spot in the Cost of Living category.

  • EU starts EBA withdrawal

    The EU on Monday announced that it has begun the 18-month process of withdrawing the Kingdom’s access to its preferential Everything But Arms (EBA) agreement over “a deterioration of democracy [and] respect for human rights”. However, the Garment Manufacturers Association of Cambodia (GMAC) said

  • PM: War result of foreign meddling

    Prime Minister Hun Sen said on Sunday that Cambodia’s recent history of conflict was caused by foreign interference. “The wars that happened were caused by provocation, incitement, support, smearing and interference from foreign powers, and the group of ignorant people who pushed Cambodia to