Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Sokha request for bail denied



Sokha request for bail denied

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Military Police officers stand posted outside the capital’s Supreme Court on Wednesday during the hearing to determine whether former opposition leader Kem Sokha would be release on bail. Heng Chivoan

Sokha request for bail denied

Lawyers representing former Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) president Kem Sokha have expressed disappointment over the Supreme Court’s decision to deny the politician bail.

During the second bail hearing for his release on Wednesday, the Supreme Court instead upheld the Appeal Court’s decision on the matter. Sokha, 64, was not present in court when the decision was delivered.

Judge Kong Srim, who is also the Supreme Court president, said he upheld the verdict as it was based on law.

The court further decided to extend Sokha’s detention for another six months, despite his lawyers’ pleas that Sokha’s health condition was deteriorating and he needed urgent surgery.

“There is no problem because all prisons in Cambodia have medical experts who are specialists . . . who can offer him treatment."

“In addition, his health condition is not getting worse. Therefore, there is no reason for him to be released,” said Srim.

Sokha was charged for conspiring with foreign powers based on Article 443 of the Criminal Code after his midnight arrest on September 3, last year. He was then sent to the Trapaing Plong Prison.

Currently, in pre-trial detention, he could be incarcerated for up to 30 years if found guilty under the charge.

According to the defence, the prison health officials did not have sufficient medical experience and the facility was ill-equipped to carry out surgery.

His lawyers also claimed that Sokha was suffering from a pinched blood vessel on his back and shoulders that requires immediate surgery. If not treated soon, it could further aggravate his health problems.

One of Sokha’s lawyers, Pheng Heng, said before the hearing that he had high hopes the bail request would be successful.

“In fact, as Kem Sokha’s lawyer, I am very disappointed after hearing the verdict, but it is the court’s decision,” Heng said.

During the bail hearing, some observers and former CNRP politicians shared different opinions on the issue.

Former CNRP board director Prince Sisowath Thomico said nobody could predict the future. “I am not a fortune teller and I cannot predict when Kem Sokha will be released.

“In this situation, the CPP’s [Cambodian People’s Party] strategy is to reduce the political pressure, so they released some activists. I think that is not the case here. Its strategy is to break the people’s solidarity,” Thomico said.

Political analyst Kim Sok who was recently released from prison said sooner or later Sokha will be freed because of the international community’s pressure and other potential punishment facing Cambodia.

Separately, investigating judge Ham Mengse has ordered Cambodia National Rescue Movement (CNRM) president Sam Rainsy, who currently lives in France, to appear at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court on September 13 to answer charges of “insulting the King”.

MOST VIEWED

  • Without shoes or a helmet, a young cyclist steals the show

    Pech Theara gripped the curved handlebars of his rusty old bike, planted his bare feet on its pedals and stormed as fast as he could towards the finish line. The odds were against him as the 13-year-old faced off against kids with nicer bikes at

  • Seven positive for Covid-19, Hun Sen confirms local transmission

    Prime Minister Hun Sen announced that there has been local community transmission of Covid-19. However, he urged the people not to panic even though the Ministry of Health announced the discovery of seven new cases on Sunday. Among the victims are Chhem Savuth, the director-general

  • Phnom Penh-Sihanoukville expressway on schedule

    The construction of the more than $1.9 billion Phnom Penh-Sihanoukville Expressway has not been delayed despite the Covid-19 pandemic, with more than 26 per cent of the project completed and expected to finish in about two years, according to Ministry of Public Works and Transport secretary of

  • Over 110 garment factories close

    A government official said on November 22 that at least 110 garment factories had closed in the first nine months of the year and left more than 55,000 workers without jobs – but union leaders worry those numbers could be much higher. Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training undersecretary

  • Singapore group seeks $14M in damages from PPSP over ‘breach of contract’

    Singapore-based Asiatic Group (Holdings) Ltd is seeking a minimum of $14.4 million relief from Cambodia Securities Exchange (CSX)-listed Phnom Penh Special Economic Zone Plc (PPSP) for allegedly breaching a power plant joint venture (JV) agreement. Asiatic Group’s wholly-owned Colben System Pte Ltd and 95 per

  • PM vows to protect Hun family

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has vowed to continue his fight against opposition politicians who he said intend to smash the Hun family. Without naming the politicians but apparently referring to former leaders of the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), Hun Sen said there