Kem Sokha, In His Own Words

The following text tells the life story of Kem Sokha, president of the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party until it was dissolved last year, in his own words. It is part of an interview featured in a forthcoming book, “Seeking Justice in Cambodia: Human Rights Defenders Speak Out,” by Australian researcher Sue Coffey.

The volume features interviews with 15 prominent Cambodian rights defenders. From human rights activist to politician and eventual opposition leader, Kem Sokha has played a key role in shaping Cambodia’s political culture and discourse.

Ms. Coffey’s conversation with Kem Sokha took place just a few days before he was arrested at his home in Phnom Penh in early September 2017, on vague charges of “treason” that many have called politically motivated. He has remained in detention in a remote prison near the Vietnamese border for the past year.

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