Commentator Asks Hun Sen To Explain Lawsuit

Political commentator Kim Sok on Wednesday asked the Supreme Court to compel Prime Minister Hun Sen to explain—in person—the lawsuit he filed against him claiming defamation and incitement.

Mr. Sok was arrested and charged in February for claiming that the premier’s ruling CPP was behind the July assassination of political analyst and commentator Kem Ley. The Appeal Court has already rejected his request to have Mr. Hun Sen appear before the Phnom Penh Municipal Court for questioning at any future trial.

cam photo kim sok WEB ONLY
Jailed political commentator Kim Sok speaks to reporters as he is escorted through the Court of Appeal in Phnom Penh in March. (Emil Kastrup/The Cambodia Daily)

“I want Samdech [Mr. Hun Sen] to come to the trial, face to face. It’s important for the case,” Mr. Sok said during Wednesday’s appeal hearing at the Supreme Court. “I don’t want him to come to pardon me. I need him to explain the reason he is suing me.”

Mr. Hun Sen’s lawyer, Ky Tech, said Mr. Sok’s request was out of line, insisting he had every right to act in his client’s stead.

“I have received legal permission to defend and sign for my client,” Mr. Tech said. “Why do you want to ask the plaintiff? When you committed the crime the plaintiff was not there, so it’s not necessary.”

Presiding Judge Soeng Pa-

nhavuth said he would announce his decision on July 5.

The Supreme Court was also scheduled to decide on Mr. Sok’s request for bail on Wednesday. But that decision, too, will now be announced on July 5.

Mr. Sok was charged with defamation and incitement to cause social disorder. The prime minister, who denies having any part in Kem Ley’s murder, has asked for $500,000 in compensation.

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