Koh Kong Candlelight Candidate Sued by CPP Lawyers, Alleges Intimidation

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Pal Kep, a Candlelight Party commune chief candidate in Koh Kong province’s Stung Veng commune, at a party event in Khemara Phoumint city on April 25, 2022. (Supplied)

A Candlelight Party commune chief candidate from Koh Kong has alleged CPP lawyers have filed a court complaint against him to intimidate him and deter him from contesting the June election.

Pal Kep is the opposition party’s commune chief candidate in Koh Kong province’s Stung Veng commune. The candidate was summoned for questioning by the Koh Kong Provincial Court prosecutor on May 11, but said he had requested a delay on Monday to find a lawyer.

Kep said six lawyers had filed a complaint to the provincial court alleging the Candlelight member had committed defamation, incitement to commit felony, forging of a document and an election violation.

He said he was unsure why the lawyers had filed the complaint or the grounds for the charges. He was only meeting villagers and campaigning as per the regulations, Kep said.

“I don’t know what it really means as I haven’t seen the case file and I don’t know what it’s about as I have only received the summons from the court,” he said.

The candidate alleged that the CPP lawyers were only trying to intimidate him into pulling out of the commune’s two-party race. He added that the CPP commune chief candidate Kay Krong was the son of a provincial council member, and they were worried about being defeated by the Candlelight Party.

“I will not quit from standing as a Candlelight candidate. I will use my own rights to fight this case legally because I didn’t do anything wrong. Their accusations are very cruel,” he said.

The prosecutor’s summons document does not detail the exact crimes committed by Kep. VOD called all six lawyers on the document and could only reach Rath Sarin, who did not answer questions and said he was busy.

Court officials could not be reached Monday evening.

The Candlelight Party has frequently alleged being at the receiving end of intimidation and harassment from the ruling party or election officials. The party had registered in all but three communes. At least 13 complaints were filed against the party’s candidate lists resulting in some disqualifications in some communes.

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