HRP President Summoned For Breach of Trust Allegations

Phnom Penh Municipal Court yesterday summoned Human Rights Party President Kem Sokha, the former head of the Cambodian Center for Human Rights, for questioning over alleged breach of trust and the use of false documents, a court official said.

Municipal deputy prosecutor Sok Roeun said yesterday that he summoned Mr Sokha to appear for questioning on Sept 6 over the allegations, declining to comment further.

Meanwhile, local media outlet Cambodia Express News, part of the Rasmei Kampuchea group, reported yesterday that the court’s other deputy prosecutor, Kry Sok Y, had charged Mr Sokha over a defamation case brought by former CCHR employees in 2006.

Mr Sokha could not be reached for comment yesterday. Mr Sok Y referred questions to Mr Roeun, who declined to comment on the supposed defamation charge.

HRP secretary-general Nhem Ponharith said he was unaware of any charges being brought against the party president, but confirmed that Mr Sokha had been summoned for questioning.

Chhim Phalvorun, a plaintiff in both cases and a former CCHR employee, said he went to the court yesterday to submit evidence related to the breach of trust case. He said he was not aware of any charges being brought in the defamation suit.

Mr Phalvorun is one of 16 former CCHR employees who filed a complaint against Mr Sokha in October 2006 alleging corruption and nepotism. They claim that in 2006 Mr Sokha dismissed a number of employees because he did not believe they were loyal to him, while retaining the services of his supporters and family members. The group also filed a separate defamation complaint against Mr Sokha over some of his public responses to their allegations.

“I am one of those who filed the complaint to the court since 2006…and I ask the court to sentence him according to the law,” he said.

Current CCHR president Ou Virak, who took over from Mr Sokha in April 2007, said he believed that the court proceedings against his predecessor were politically motivated.

“Its a political issue that they use to threaten Kem Sokha,” he said.


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