Prime Minister Should Be in Prison, Jailed Commentator Kim Sok Says

Jailed political commentator Kim Sok on Tuesday declared that Prime Minister Hun Sen should be in Prey Sar prison rather than himself during a hearing in which the Phnom Penh Municipal Court denied Mr. Sok’s second request for bail.

Mr. Sok was detained in February on charges of defamation and incitement, five days after a radio interview during which he appeared to suggest that the ruling CPP was behind the killing of political analyst Kem Ley last year.

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

Prime Minister Hun Sen is suing Mr. Sok for more than $500,000.

In court on Tuesday, Mr. Sok questioned the reasoning behind his incitement charges, saying no crimes had been committed as a result of his statements. He went on to compare his words to comments made by the premier.

“Samdech [Mr. Hun Sen] should have been in Prey Sar long ago because he spoke about the killing of 100 to 200 people,” Mr. Sok said, referring to a speech by Mr. Hun Sen in May during which he said: “To ensure the lives of millions of people, we are willing to eliminate 100 or 200 people because we have seen bitter past experiences,” repeating claims that the CPP must remain in power to avoid civil war.

Mr. Sok was warned by the deputy prosecutor and judge not to go off topic.

Both Judge Ky Rithy and Mr. Hun Sen’s lawyer Ky Tech said in court that denying Mr. Sok’s bail request was necessary to prevent him from committing new offenses and to maintain public order. His trial will begin next Wednesday, Mr. Rithy said.

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