Kem Sokha Threatened With Lawsuit Over Alleged Beating

Emerging from Phnom Penh’s Calmette Hospital on Tuesday, the mother of a woman who claims to be opposition leader Kem Sokha’s scorned mistress said that she would file a lawsuit against Mr. Sokha today over injuries she allegedly sustained at the hands of his bodyguards.

The 62-year-old mother, Sam Phalla, claimed that after approaching Mr. Sokha at a campaign rally last week and asking for help to feed her family, the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) leader ordered his bodyguards to beat her, resulting in injuries to her bladder and chest.

“After I leave the hospital, I will file a complaint against Kem Sokha because if he had not told [his bodyguards to beat me], his bodyguards would not have beaten me,” she said.

Doctors at Calmette Hospital have declined to comment on the severity of Ms. Phalla’s injuries or how they might have been caused.

If Ms. Phalla follows through with her threat, the lawsuit would be the third facing Mr. Sokha.

On Wednesday, Keo Sophannary, Ms. Phalla’s 41-year-old daughter, said that she filed a complaint against Mr. Sokha in 2012 demanding $10,000 in order to support two children that she and Mr. Sokha allegedly adopted when they were together. In February, the municipal court called Ms. Sophannary for questioning in the case, but has not taken further action against Mr. Sokha.

On Friday, S-21 survivor Chum Mey filed a lawsuit with the Phnom Penh Municipal Court seeking $1,000 in damages from Mr. Sokha for comments he allegedly made suggesting that atrocities committed at Tuol Sleng prison were staged by the Vietnamese regime that toppled the Khmer Rouge.

Ms. Phalla denied that her allegations against Mr. Sokha, which come less than six weeks before the national election, were being made at the behest of any political party.

“No one hired me to go through with this case,” Ms. Phalla said.

CNRP spokesman Yem Ponhearith said that if Ms. Phalla moves ahead with filing the lawsuit, then investigation into her claims would clear Mr. Sokha of any wrongdoing.

“We had more than 7,000 people who participated in that forum and were at the scene who can act as witnesses. We also have video evidence,” he said.

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