Kem Sokha’s Defense and the Prosecution Squabble Over Slow-Moving Trial

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Kem Sokha outside the Phnom Penh Municipal Court on July 27, 2022. (Hean Rangsey/VOD)
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Defense lawyers for opposition leader Kem Sokha again accused the prosecution of relitigating evidence that had already been presented during the trial, which concluded its 50th hearing on Wednesday.

Kem Sokha’s trial has dragged on as the prosecution presents video evidence from before and after the 2013 elections. Pheng Heng, who is part of Sokha’s defense team, said the prosecution and government lawyers played video clips on Wednesday that had already been discussed in past hearings.

He added that the videos, from protests at Freedom Park in 2013, were not evidence of a treasonous plot to overthrow the government and some were not even about Sokha.

“One or two videos have been played subsequently and look at the questioning — it is still around the words of excellency Sam Rainsy. What does this mean?” Heng said.

Prosecutor Plang Sophal pushed back at Heng in court and said that while the questioning may seem repeated, they were different and that if the accused had a right to answer or not then the prosecution had the same right to cross examine him.

Sokha too was reluctant to answer questions from the prosecution or government lawyers, either saying he had no comment or had already answered the question.

The trial is scheduled to continue on August 3.

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