Appeal Court to Hear Petition From Kem Sokha Lawyers

2 min read
Opposition leader Kem Sokha leaves the Phnom Pen Muncipal Court on February 27, 2020 (Ouch Sony/VOD)

The Appeal Court will hear arguments next week from Kem Sokha’s lawyers, who are opposing a decision by lower court judges to accept new evidence submitted by the prosecution in the opposition leader’s stalled treason trial.

In a court order dated Saturday, Appeal Court prosecutor Tan Senarong summoned Sokha, president of the outlawed main opposition CNRP, for a hearing on May 13.

Sokha has been on trial since January for allegedly conspiring with a foreign power to overthrow the government, a charge which he denies. He faces up to 30 years in prison if convicted.

Trial hearings have been postponed for nearly two months following requests from defense and government lawyers to put off the proceedings while the Covid-19 pandemic continues.

Chan Chen, one of Sokha’s lawyers, told VOD that the defense team filed a complaint on March 25, two weeks after Phnom Penh Municipal Court judges decided to allow deputy prosecutors to submit new evidence in the trial, following defense lawyers’ questioning of why the evidence was needed two and half years after Sokha was arrested in 2017.

The prosecutors’ evidence consists of seven video clips with transcripts that were first submitted in late February and include a segment from U.S.-funded news outlet Voice of America (VOA) about the formation of the CNRP in 2012 and a video from the post-election Veng Sreng Boulevard labor protests in 2013.

Another of Sokha’s lawyers, Meng Sopheary, said the defense counsel disagreed with the judges’ decision to allow additional evidence, saying the prosecution should have brought any evidence forward before the case moved to trial.

“If there are new pieces of evidence being submitted, [we] want to know whether the previous investigation is incomplete or what. This is the question we are asking,” she said.

(Translated and edited from the original article on VOD Khmer) 

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