Sokha’s Defense Again Questions Validity of Treason Charge

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Prime Minister Hun Sen and former opposition leader Kem Sokha meet at the funeral of Hun Neng in Kampong Cham province on May 8, 2022. (Kem Sokha’s Facebook page)

Kem Sokha’s legal team continued to demand that the prosecution specify which countries he had conspired with to overthrow the government, adding there was no evidence so far to support charges against the opposition leader.

The Sokha trial entered its 42nd hearing on Wednesday, with defense lawyer Chan Chen saying the prosecution had not identified a foreign state or national that Sokha conspired with to dislodge the CPP government. 

“Are there any foreign states or foreign agencies conspiring with Kem Sokha, and especially whether there is an agreement that our clients conspire with a foreign state or foreign agency?” he queried while speaking to reporters outside the court.

He added that a video of Sokha speaking in Australia, which the government has claimed is the smoking gun in the case, was only politicking and not an admission of treason.

Sokha was arrested in September 2017 and charged with treason for conspiring with a foreign state to overthrow the government. Hun Sen, on a recent trip to the U.S., claimed that Sokha the government had not specified that Sokha colluded with the country even though he gave a speech a day after the former CNRP president’s arrest saying so.

“The Americans used to do it, this problem, with Lon Nol and now the American does this problem with Kem Sokha,” he said in September 2017.

Prosecutor Plang Sophal said the video from Australia was evidence that Sokha had started plans to overthrow the government since 1993 and that there was evidence to support his conspiracy with foreign powers.

As the hearing proceeded, the prosecution played 16 videos and questioned Sokha, who occasionally mocked their line of questioning. He also insisted his politics were clean and he never advocated the use of violence.

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