The 40th hearing in Kem Sokha’s treason trial was held on May 18, with the former president of the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) dismissive of the three-minute video clip that serves as the prosecution’s primary evidence.
Pheng Heng, one of Sokha’s defence attorneys, told reporters that the May 18 hearing was not different from the previous ones. But this time, it was his co-lawyer Meng Sopheary’s turn to ask Sokha about his supposed “conspiracy with foreign powers” to topple the government.
Heng said Sokha answered these questions and requested that the video of his statements be played.
Sokha detailed that the statements were made to the congress of the Human Rights Party which – in a spirit of unity with the Sam Rainsy Party – merged to become the CNRP with the intention of participating in Cambodia’s elections as a political party in accordance with the procedures prescribed by law and without any possible motive or reason to attempt to carry out any kind of “colour revolution” as alleged.
He said Sokha also testified at the hearing that the three-minute video clip that the prosecution had filed as evidence in this case and charged him treason was not an accurate or complete reflection of his words that day.
Heng said Sokha testified that his speech lasted more than an hour and that there was a question and answer period afterwards, but the clip offered as evidence cut everything out and left a brief excerpt of his words that was being used out of context to create the appearance of wrongdoing where none had occurred.
“That is why Sokha said that the video submitted was not correct and did not reflect the truth and instead just caused confusion which lead the authorities and prosecution to level the charge,” Heng said.
Heng said given that the entire case seems like it is the result of a misunderstanding, Sokha requested that the prosecution and government lawyers negotiate a resolution with him in order to find the truth of the matter for the sake of the nation and the people.
Plang Sophal, spokesman for the Prosecutor’s Office, told The Post after the May 18 hearing that the video was played several times by Sokha’s lawyers.
“We do not have anything more to say because we have already explained this all many times in the hearing,” he said.