Court Rejects Request to Have Hun Sen Testify in Kim Sok Case

Jailed political firebrand Kim Sok’s attempt to have Prime Minister Hun Sen testify in court over a lawsuit claiming defamation and incitement was rejected on Wednesday by the Supreme Court.

The staunch government critic was arrested and charged in February after allegedly accusing the ruling CPP in a radio interview of orchestrating the assassination of political commentator Kem Ley, who was gunned down in Phnom Penh nearly a year ago. A few days later, he repeated the claim.

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Kim Sok walks with supporters in February as he made his way from Wat Chas to the Phnom Penn Municipal Courthouse. (Siv Channa/The Cambodia Daily)

The Appeal Court has already rejected Mr. Sok’s request to have Mr. Hun Sen appear before the Phnom Penh Municipal Court for questioning at a future trial.

Judge Soeng Panhavuth on Wednesday also threw out his request to have the prime minister summoned, citing his lawyer’s failure to provide a “reasonable” argument for the court to consider.

A separate judge also rejected Mr. Sok’s latest bail application.

Upon exiting the courtroom, Mr. Sok accused the premier of being behind the outcome.

“The decision doesn’t follow the law. It’s an unfair decision that is organized by Samdech Prime Minister Hun Sen,” he shouted before being escorted into a van.

Contacted later, Mr. Sok’s lawyer, Choung Chungy, said Mr. Hun Sen should still testify in his client’s trial.

“The plaintiff and defendant must be face-to-face at trial to raise their reasons for consideration,” Mr. Chungy said.

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

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