Rights Group Calls for Sao Sokha’s Removal

Human Rights Watch (HRW) on Sunday released a statement condemning National Military Police Commander Sao Sokha for his admission that he sanctioned a “partisan use of force” in a January 15 speech in which he spoke of opposition protesters as the military police’s foes.

“Sao Sokha praised the gendarmerie’s role in forcibly dispersing anti-government demonstrations on January 3, 2014, when they shot at workers and other protesters who resisted dispersal, killing five people,” the HRW statement says.

“He described opposition demonstrations as a ‘trick of the destroyers’ intended to ‘push Cambodia into turmoil’ and bring about political change, including the fall of the CPP government.”

The statement then lists human rights abuses that Gen. Sokha has committed since the 1980s and calls for his removal.

National Military Police spokesman Kheng Tito said the report “does not reflect the facts,” adding that HRW had no business calling for Gen. Sokha’s removal.

“Only the government [and] Prime Minister Hun Sen have [the] right to promote or demote,” he said.

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Read and listen to an extended excerpt from Sao Sokha’s speech here.

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