Thy Sovantha Chat Not About Dropped Charges, Says CNRP South Korea Head

2 min read
Yim Sinorn in a photo posted to his Facebook page on July 15, 2021.

Yim Sinorn says he wants to act as a mediator between parties and create space for next-generation politics after the courts dropped criminal charges against him.

The former head of the opposition CNRP in South Korea said he had already spent an hour with ex-CNRP president Kem Sokha, but denied that his absolution came about due to the intervention of opposition-activist-turned-ruling party celebrity Thy Sovantha.

Sovantha, who rose to prominence over social media in 2013 while campaigning for the CNRP, has since began working for the ruling CPP and has opened a university.

Sinorn said the court dropped charges against him this week, but it wasn’t because of Sovantha’s intervention. An audio recording shared around on Tuesday between him and Sovantha was genuine, but old, he said.

In it, the pair discuss getting a letter to Prime Minister Hun Sen to seek his help, with Sovantha saying she would hand it directly to him.

Sinorn said on Tuesday that the conversation was related to the jailing of CNRP lawmaker Meach Sovannara several years ago, not to recent developments in his own case.

“Some politicians have used it as a tool to attack and paint me, and I am not paying attention to it,” he said.

Instead, he had appealed to Hun Sen about dropping the charges in a letter last year, he said.

“I followed the procedure as the victim of a misunderstanding,” he said. “As a citizen I have the right to hand directly or indirectly through any channel, and I cannot tell it publicly, but what I can say is that he sympathized and accepted my letter, and made an immediate intervention that made me feel excited and happy.”

Justice Ministry spokesperson Chin Malin denied Hun Sen’s apparent intervention in court procedure. “This is the court’s decision, and it is based on the law and the facts,” he said.

Sovantha could not be reached for comment.

Sinorn’s letter to Hun Sen denounced the “extremist” opposition’s recent activities — over which he had been charged — as inciting.

Sinorn added on Tuesday that he had spoken with CNRP co-founder Sokha for over an hour, but the former party president was not at liberty to discuss politics.

“He still doesn’t have the freedom to talk politics even though I am his former colleague. He shared very little regarding strategy and other work that he is doing,” Sinorn said.

He added that he was not inclined to form or join any political party, and wanted to see the country’s political heat drop and political discourse move away from insults.

“Without cooling down the ash, the ash can turn into a flame for the nation,” he said. “I will try to meet all parties both inside and outside the government to discuss and understand the issues and solutions. I will somehow find a strategy to make old politicians create an atmosphere for the next generation of youth to compete in.”

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