Former opposition leader Kem Sokha said at his trial on Thursday that his 2013 speech in Australia was an attempt to dispel a notion among overseas opposition supporters that he was a puppet of the ruling party.
During the day’s hearing, Presiding Judge Koy Sao allowed prosecutors to question Sokha about a video of the speech, which has been used to allege that the politician had conspired with the U.S. to overthrow the government. Government lawyers followed to question Sokha, before his own lawyers took their turn.
In a government transcript of the shortened video, Sokha appears to say that the U.S. has supported him since his entry to politics in 1993, and the U.S. advised him to drum up grassroots support in the model of the color revolution that toppled Yugoslavian dictator Slobodan Milosevic in 2000. The advice led him to establish the Cambodian Center for Human Rights (CCHR) in 2002, he appears to say.