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PM appoints lawyer to head government attorney group

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Ky Tech speaks to the press outside the Supreme Court after a bail request by jailed political analyst Kim Sok was rejected last year in Phnom Penh. Pha Lina

PM appoints lawyer to head government attorney group

Prime Minister Hun Sen’s lawyer who won a court case that led to the dissolution of the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) in November, has been promoted.

Ky Tech is now head of the government’s legal team, a position equivalent to a senior minister, according to Royal Decree signed by acting head of state Say Chhum on Sunday.

The promotion was approved months after Tech’s nomination as head of the government’s legal team on March 3 and his inclusion into the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) Central Committee in February.

Tech vowed to protect the government’s interests in his new capacity as head the top legal team.

Expression of gratitude

“My co-workers and I will put more efforts into protecting the government’s interests, prestige and reputation from allegations by individuals that lack the truth,” he said.

“We will firmly and wholeheartedly protect the government.”

Former CNRP lawmaker Ou Chanroth claimed the promotion of a government lawyer to a senior minister is an expression of gratitude for Tech’s assistance in helping the government maintain its grip on power.

He claimed the promotion is a waste of national budget as his main role would be to protect the interests of the ruling CPP, not the nation as a whole.

“We should not be surprised. Ky Tech gets this position because of his efforts in helping the CPP … His achievement is just in helping the ruling party maintain power. This is a reward for him,” he said.

Tech represented the Ministry of Interior in its complaint that resulted in the disbanding of the CNRP.

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Kem Sokha speaks at the former CNRP office in Phnom Penh in 2016. Heng Chivoan

The case relied on the narrative that the opposition party was attempting to overthrow the government through a so-called “colour revolution” aided by foreign countries.

At the Supreme Court trial in November last year, Tech said the CNRP had mounted a “lotus revolution” when they protested the 2013 election results – a reference to similarly named non-violent mass demonstrations in Eastern Europe.

‘Collusion with foreigners’

“Cambodia is under many attempts to enforce a ‘colour revolution’ by the CNRP through its collusion with foreigners and cooperation with local and international NGOs,” he told the nine-judge panel.

The government buttressed its accusation with assertions that the CNRP was aided by the US in trying to overthrow the government – an allegation denied by its local embassy in Phnom Penh.

As evidence, Tech referred to a speech made by US President Donald Trump in 2016 calling for an end to American attempts to topple foreign governments.

“It shows that the US is behind the toppling of many governments,” he told the Supreme Court.

Tech has also represented many other top officials, including National Assembly president Heng Samrin, in their cases against former CNRP leader Sam Rainsy and senior CNRP officials. He has won all such cases.

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