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Two more witnesses called in Sokha case

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Chak Sopheap, the executive director of CCHR, speaks to the media after testifying at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court. Heng Chivoan

Two more witnesses called in Sokha case

The investigating judge at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Thursday questioned two more witnesses in a treason case against former Cambodia National Rescue Party leader Kem Sokha.

They were Chak Sopheap, the executive director of the Cambodian Center for Human Rights (CCHR), and Meas Kimseng, a former staffer at rights group Sahmakum Teang Tnautas.

“Today the investigating judge of the Phnom Penh Municipal Court questioned two people, Chak Sopheap and Meas Kimseng, regarding Kem Sokha, who stands charged with treason,” said Y Rin, a court spokesman.

Sopheap claimed she was asked about her experiences working at CCHR, where Sokha once served as the president of the NGO.

“What I clarified is related to the beginning of CCHR . . . there was a lot that I did not know. [The judge] questioned me about CCHR’s work while under the stewardship of Kem Sokha and CCHR’s work currently,” she said.

She said she hoped the case would be conducted independently, with a guarantee that witnesses’ rights would be protected and a fair trial given to the accused.

However, she declined to provide detailed information about questions related to US funding of the organisation.

‘Questioning to continue’In December, Prime Minister Hun Sen announced that CCHR would not be forcibly shut down, despite accusing it of serving foreign interests.

CCHR was founded in 2002 by Sokha, who later co-founded the CNRP – which became the country’s largest opposition party.

He was arrested in September on charges of treason. His party was also dissolved by the Supreme Court for conspiring with foreign governments to foment a revolution.

Meas Kimseng could not be reached for comment.

Ly Sophanna, spokesman for the municipal court prosecutor, said three other witnesses were called for questioning but one was absent. “[The court] will continue questioning others next week,” he said.

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