Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - NGO staff, former CNRP lawmakers ordered to testify in ‘treason’ case

NGO staff, former CNRP lawmakers ordered to testify in ‘treason’ case

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
A protester is slapped by chief of the Daun Penh security guards Kim Vutha near the Appeal Court, where opposition leader Kem Sokha was challenging the extension of his pretrial detention in March. Pha Lina

NGO staff, former CNRP lawmakers ordered to testify in ‘treason’ case

The Phnom Penh Municipal Court has summonsed eight people as witnesses to testify at the trial of Kem Sokha for alleged “treason”. The warrants were signed by Investigating Judge Ky Rithy and seen by The Post.

Among those summonsed are Pa Nguon Teang, a former Cambodian Center for Human Rights (CCHR) staffer and executive director of the Cambodian Center for Independent Media (CCIM); Chak Sopheap, the executive director of the CCHR; and Sia Phearum, the former executive director of the Human Rights Task Force (HRTF).

The others are Keo Rotana, a former host on 93.5 FM and the Cambodia National Rescue Party’s (CNRP) now-halted radio station; Khoeun Virath a former CNRP commune chief; Meas Kimseng, formerly of human rights group Sahmakum Teang Tnaut; Heng Pisith, from online media outlet Social Breaking News; and Kry Song, a former CCHR staff member.

Sokha, the former CNRP president, has been held in a Tbong Khmum prison since his midnight arrest on September 3. This followed the release of a 2013 video, in which he talks with supporters in Australia about having received foreign assistance during his political career.

“I, Ky Rithy, Phnom Penh Municipal Court investigating judge, call [Sopheap] as a witness to come to Phnom Penh Municipal Court on June 7 [in the] case against the charged Kem Sokha for treason,” states a warrant signed by him and dated May 17.

However, the CCHR said in a statement released on Sunday that Sopheap is yet to receive the summons. “When [Sopheap] receives the summons, [she] will comply,” the statement said.

Phearum said he would not attend court to testify in Sokha’s case as he “does not know anything”. “I do not know anything as I was not involved with nor had any relationship with Kem Sokha.”

Political analyst Hang Pitu said: “When the court keeps summonsing people related to Kem Sokha, the government’s intention is to pressure, threaten and intimidate.

“This is the ruling party’s strategy for the elections to reduce certain civil organisations’ influence and activities,” he said.

Sokha has left prison only once since his arrest, for a bail hearing at the Appeal Court in February.

The CNRP was dissolved in November following a complaint from the Ministry of Interior. Some 118 party officials, including Sokha, have been banned from the political arena for five years.

His arrest warrant was issued after the court summonsed Beehive Radio founder Mam Sonando and CPP spokesman Chhim Phal Virun, a former CCHR staff member, as witnesses.

MOST VIEWED

  • ‘Education’ a priority traffic-law penalty

    A top National Police official on June 21 neither rejected nor confirmed the authenticity of a leaked audio message, which has gone viral on social media, on a waiver of fines for a number of road traffic-related offences. General Him Yan, deputy National Police chief in

  • Pursat Ford assembly plant opens

    The Kingdom’s first Ford assembly plant was inaugurated on June 16 in Pursat province amid rising demand for brand-new vehicles among Cambodians. The facility is seen as a game changer for the domestic automobile industry, which could bring a wave of investors seeking to cash

  • Volunteer scheme to foster ‘virtuous’ humanitarian spirit

    A senior education official said volunteer work contributes to solidarity and promotes a virtuous humanitarian spirit among the youth and communities. Serei Chumneas, undersecretary of state at the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, made the comment during the opening of a training programme called “

  • Siem Reap’s $18M zoo said to educate public, help wildlife

    Angkor Wildlife and Aquarium Co Ltd has invested $18 million in a zoo in Siem Reap province, which will be opened in October to educate and promote animal conservation as well as attract national and international tourists. Currently, the Angkor Wildlife and Aquarium is building the

  • $50B infrastructure plan en route

    The government’s upcoming $50 billion,10-year infrastructure master plan will provide tremendous investment opportunities for domestic and foreign entities, transport experts and economists say. Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol revealed the plan to Japanese ambassador to Cambodia Masahiro Mikami on June 15. At

  • Chinese firms unveil preliminary results on metro, monorail for capital

    Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol and representatives from China Road and Bridge Corp (CRBC) and its parent company, the state-owned China Communications Construction Co Ltd (CCCC), met on June 24 for talks on results of the firms’ preliminary study on a potential metro