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Lawyer asks court to speed up Sokha defamation case

Lawyer asks court to speed up Sokha defamation case

The Phnom Penh Municipal Court has been urged to “accelerate” a defamation suit filed against opposition deputy leader Kem Sokha in June by S-21 prison survivor Chum Mey on behalf of himself and three other survivors.

Kuoy Thunna, Mey’s lawyer, has asked court prosecutor Yet Chakrya to speed up the public defamation case filed against Sokha for alleged comments he made about the torture prison being a Vietnamese fabrication.

“[Six months on and] my client has still not received information on the progress of this case. My client and I have been looking forward to seeing the light of justice, just as anxiously as my client did 35 years ago,” he wrote in a letter sent on Tuesday.

“The long delay is adding additional suffering to my client and the normal people who also used to [live under] the [Khmer Rouge] regime.… I would like excellency [Yet Chakrya] to be reminded and accelerate this case.”

Neither Chakrya nor deputy prosecutor Meas Chanpiseth could be reached for comment yesterday. Sokha could also not be reached.

Opposition party spokesman Yem Ponharith said the case was contrived to create a negative image of Sokha, though he declined to say it was politically motivated.

The four plaintiffs are requesting $1,000 in compensation from Sokha to pay for a Buddhist ceremony for those who died at the torture prison.

Mey appeared in court in June but Sokha ignored numerous summons related to both this case and another involving an alleged mistress before the election, saying he was busy campaigning.

He dismissed both allegations at the time as political tactics engineered by the ruling party ahead of the election.

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