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

  • Municipal hall releases map detailing colour coded Covid risks by commune

    Phnom Penh municipal governor Khuong Sreng released an official map detailing the red, yellow and dark yellow zones within the city under the new lockdown orders for Phnom Penh announced on April 26. The designation of red, dark yellow and yellow corresponds to areas with high,

  • Inter-provincial travel ban lifted; Phnom Penh and Takmao not exempted

    The government on April 25 decided to lift the inter-provincial travel ban and the closure of tourist attractions across the country, effectively immediately. The travel ban and closures of all resorts were imposed on April 6 and 17 respectively in a bid to curb the spread of Covid-19,

  • Phnom Penh unveils rules for post-lockdown transition

    The Phnom Penh Municipal Administration issued a set of detailed guidelines for the seven days to May 12 after the capital emerges from lockdown at the onset of May 6. In the 14-page document signed by municipal governor Khuong Sreng released on the evening of May 5, the

  • Phnom Penh, Takmao lockdown extended for another week

    The government late on April 26 announced an extension of lockdown in Phnom Penh and adjacent Takmao town in Kandal province for another seven days – or longer if residents do not comply with Covid-19 preventive measures and the community outbreak does not subside – until May 5. According

  • Gov't mulls extension of Phnom Penh, Takmao lockdown

    The Inter-ministerial National Commission for the Control and Enforcement of Lockdown held a video conference meeting on April 25 to review a draft document on the extension of lockdown in Phnom Penh and adjacent Kandal province’s Takmao town. The meeting was chaired by Minister of

  • Gov’t issues guidelines as lockdown nears end

    The government has issued a five-page set of instructions to be enforced when the three-week lockdown of Phnom Penh and adjacent Takmao town in Kandal province ends on May 6. According to an announcement signed by Prime Minister Hun Sen on May 4, the instructions cover a