CNRP Vice President Kem Sokha, who has refused to leave the opposition party’s headquarters since police tried to arrest him there on May 26, has been banned from leaving Cambodia and placed under court supervision, according to a court order.
Dated last Friday and obtained on Thursday, the order says Mr. Sokha must be kept under supervision over his failure to appear at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court when summoned for questioning about claims he took his hairdresser as a mistress.
“The charged person, Kem Sokha, has to be under the court’s supervision for refusing to show himself on May 26, according to Article 538 of the Criminal Code, and cannot leave the country,” says the order, signed by Investigating Judge Thann Leng.
“If the charged person has the intention to escape while under court supervision, the investigating judge can decide to place the charged person in pretrial detention under Article 230 of the Code of Criminal Procedure.”
Mr. Sokha has been provisionally charged by prosecutors with failing to appear for questioning, which carries a maximum prison sentence of six months, but there have been no further arrest attempts since May 26.
“Investigations have not closed in this case, because there was a request to file more work, so the charged person has to be under court supervision,” said Ly Sophanna, a court spokesman, when asked about the latest order.
The CNRP has said Mr. Sokha’s parliamentary immunity from prosecution makes any attempts to apprehend him illegal, but lawmakers from the ruling CPP have approved his arrest on the grounds that his refusal to appear represented a red-handed crime. The Constitution allows for arrests of lawmakers only when they are caught in the act of committing a crime.
CNRP lawmaker Eng Chhay Eang said the CPP did not have the number of seats in the National Assembly to strip Mr. Sokha of his immunity and therefore the court orders against him were illegitimate.
“These court procedures that they are following with Kem Sokha are too much,” he said. “Soon we will protest against them.”