Prison Department Refutes Kim Sok’s ‘Dark Prison’ Claims

The Interior Ministry yesterday refuted accusations that jailed political commentator Kim Sok had been threatened in prison by men working for Prime Minister Hun Sen, concluding that he had been treated properly.

Mr. Sok was arrested last month soon after he gave an interview on Radio Free Asia in which he appeared to accuse the government of being behind the murder of political analyst Kem Ley.

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Jailed political commentator Kim Sok speaks to reporters as he is escorted through the Court of Appeal in Phnom Penh. (Emil Kastrup/The Cambodia Daily)

After a failed appeal hearing earlier this month, Mr. Sok told reporters that men working on behalf of Mr. Hun Sen had tried to “convince him and threaten him” into writing the premier an apology, and also claimed he had been threatened with being put in a “dark prison.”

In response, the Interior Ministry’s general department of prisons released a statement yesterday, contending that Mr. Sok gave a different version of events when interviewed at Prey Sar Prison a week later.

“According to the record from a Correction Center 1 prison official with defendant Kim Sok, including a voice recordin…on the afternoon of March 13, 2017, Kim Sok claimed differently” to statements he made when leaving the Appeal Court in Phnom Penh, it said.

Nuth Savna, a spokesman for the ministry’s prisons department, said Mr. Sok’s original claims were baseless.

“There was no ‘dark prison’ as he claimed,” Mr. Savna said.

Choung Chungy, a lawyer for Mr. Sok, said he was yet to discuss the matter with his client. “If it’s the truth, it could have a big effect on my client’s mental state,” he said.

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