Deputy opposition leader Kem Sokha said on Friday that he frequently received threats of physical violence against him—a claim that was dismissed by a spokesman for the CPP, who accused Mr. Sokha of lying.
Speaking to about 5,000 party activists in Banteay Meanchey province’s Serei Saophoan City, Mr. Sokha said that it was common for the ruling party to try to intimidate CNRP members, a problem that extended all the way to the top of the opposition party.
“We know that brothers and sisters have met suffering, pain and are afraid because they intimidate,” Mr. Sokha said.
“But it’s not only brothers and sisters who suffer. I, Kem Sokha, am intimidated every day. They threaten [me],” he said, adding, “They make me hurt every day.”
Mr. Sokha’s comments follow a request by the CNRP earlier this week to meet with the government and discuss security concerns. The request was sparked by a threat made on Facebook by a soldier and CPP supporter, Khan Chan Sophal, who wrote that if a planned anti-CPP demonstration went forward in California, Mr. Sokha could face violent retaliation in Cambodia, including being beaten and having his house burned down.
However, CPP spokesman Sok Eysan dismissed the suggestion that Mr. Sokha was a frequent target of threats, saying that if the opposition figure were truly afraid of violence, he would not willingly travel around the country.
“He has said things contradictory to fact,” Mr. Eysan said.
“In fact, there is nobody making threats against him,” he said. “If there were a threat or a gun pointed at him, he would not have been able to stay in the country, nor would he have gone to Banteay Meanchey to talk to his party’s activists.”
Mr. Eysan said he had never heard of Khan Chan Sophal, and was unaware of any CNRP request to meet with the CPP about security concerns.
“If he really said that there would be a demonstration to take revenge or burn down His Excellency Kem Sokha’s house, it’s not true” he said.