Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Sokha called to court again over 'prostitution'

Sokha called to court again over 'prostitution'

Opposition acting leader Kem Sokha greets party supporters in Siem Reap on Saturday morning during a forum. Photo supplied
Opposition acting leader Kem Sokha greets party supporters in Siem Reap on Saturday morning during a forum. Photo supplied

Sokha called to court again over 'prostitution'

Days after refusing to appear for a court summons in a defamation case, deputy opposition leader Kem Sokha was again served a summons by the Phnom Penh Municipal Court, this time in relation to “procurement of prostitution”.

The acting CNRP president will have to appear before the court on May 17, according to the summons issued last week, with deputy prosecutor Sieng Sok refusing to divulge the reasons for the summons or if the case was related to prostitution accusations previously levelled at salon worker Khom Chandaraty.

“Just wait and watch,” Sok said. “If Kem Sokha does not come, then I will send additional information via the court’s spokesman.”

Chandaraty was ordered to appear in court on April 19 over accusations of prostitution and lying to the anti-terrorism police about her alleged relationship with Sokha.

The CNRP leader was issued a summons separately last week in relation to a $1 million defamation suit filed by social media celebrity Thy Sovantha, who claims she was disparaged in a leaked audio conversation purportedly between Sokha and Chandaraty.

In a statement sent last week, the CNRP said the opposition leader had immunity, thanks to his lawmaker status and would not honour the summons, with CNRP spokesman Yim Sovann yesterday adding that the same would apply to the new summons as well.

“We have said what we wanted to in the statement last week,” he said. “He [Sokha] will not appear before court.”

On the sidelines of the ongoing legal proceedings, the CNRP said last week that it was hoping to seek a solution with the ruling Cambodian People’s Party amid the escalating political crisis.

CPP spokesman Sok Eysan yesterday said that the opposition needed to make official contact, via either a letter or phone call, if they were serious about wanting to negotiate a solution.

“[The CPP] has not closed the door on the culture of dialogue, provided that this culture is based on an agenda of discussion,” he said.

However, he said the so-called culture of dialogue could not be used to negotiate the release of prisoners, which would undermine the authority of the courts.

He also refuted claims by the opposition that they were having difficulty in contacting CPP leaders, adding that the ruling party was also busy addressing the country’s water shortage issues.

“Right now, [we] use modern technology, so we do not mind any form of contact, provided that they clearly contact us for discussions,” Sok Eysan said.

But opposition lawmaker Eng Chhay Eang yesterday said they were having difficulty getting CPP leaders on the phone.

“If [the CPP] does not give phone numbers, [we] cannot contact them, because the leaders of [the CPP] have a lot of telephone numbers,” he added.

Following the arrest of human rights defenders and an election official last week, rights groups and NGOs have asked supporters to dress in black every Monday as a mark of protest against the government’s actions, with 300 of them expected to picket Prey Sar prison on Tuesday.

The Ministry of Interior, in a press release, said the groups should ensure that they do not violate constitutional provisions during their Black Monday Campaign, adding that authorities at all levels would enforce the law “to maintain peace, political stability and social order.”

“Monday is the day the court sent four human rights defenders and a deputy secretary-general [of the National Election Committee] to prison,” said executive director of Cambodian Centre for Independent Media Pa Ngoun Teang.

“We have chosen black because we see increasing intimidation with human rights issues.”

MOST VIEWED

  • Chinese tourists 2.0 – Coming anytime soon?

    Regional tourism is grappling with the absence of the prolific travellers and big spenders – the Chinese tourists. Cambodia, which has welcomed over two million Chinese tourists before Covid-19, is reeling from the economic loss despite being the first to fully open last November ‘To put

  • PM reflects on shoe throwing: Free speech or act of violence?

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on May 17 questioned whether a man who threw a shoe at him while he was in the US was exercising freedom of expression or if it was an act of hostility. Hun Sen was referring to an incident last week when

  • Hun Sen: Stop Russia sanctions

    Prime Minister Hun Sen said sanctions against Russia as a result of its military offensive in Ukraine should be stopped as they have produced no tangible results, and predicted that a global food crisis would ensue in 2023 as a consequence. Speaking to an audience at

  • Prime Minister Hun Sen warmly welcomed by president Biden

    Prime Minister Hun Sen, as ASEAN chair, and other ASEAN leaders were warmly welcomed by US president Joe Biden as the ASEAN-US summit May 12-13 kicked off today in Washington. “This evening, I welcomed ASEAN leaders to the White House for the first time in

  • Prime Minister Hun Sen invites US president to attend summit in Cambodia

    Prime Minister Hun Sen personally invited US President Joe Biden to attend the ASEAN-US Summit which is set to be held in Cambodia in November, as ASEAN and the US are expected to upgrade their strategic partnership to a ‘comprehensive strategic partnership’, according to Prime

  • Pub Street on the cards for Battambang

    The Battambang Provincial Authority has announced that it is considering establishing a Pub Street in the area around the heritage buildings in Battambang town in a bid to attract more tourists. Battambang provincial governor Sok Lou told The Post that the establishment of a Pub