A meeting yesterday between Interior Ministry officials and the acting leader of jailed government critic Sourn Serey Ratha’s Khmer Power Party ended with the party being asked to file missing annual reports to bring it in line with the Political Parties Law.
Serey Ratha was arrested on Sunday for criticising the government’s deployment of troops to the Laos border, and has since been accused of disrespecting the King and having links to the “terrorist” Khmer National Liberation Front’s plans for a government-in-exile.
Suong Sophorn, his deputy, replaced Serey Ratha as KPP leader – after he was charged with inciting military personnel to disobedience, demoralising the army and inciting a felony – in an attempt to avoid the party’s dissolution under recent changes to the Political Parties Law.
“It related to some points of the law that the party has not yet fulfilled,” Sophorn said of yesterday’s meeting, explaining that he had been asked why the party had not submitted annual reports to the ministry, and maintaining the reports had been prepared.
“There’s one problem – all the documents we prepared were seized by the competent forces and the courts,” he said, referring to a high-profile raid on the KPP’s offices on Tuesday.
Chhim Kan, the deputy director of the Administration Department at the Interior Ministry who met with Sophorn, said that the question of the KPP being dissolved was not discussed.
“We did not yet talk about this issue,” Kan said. “It’s important to see if he fulfils [the duty to file annual reports] in accordance with the statutes of the law or not.”