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Sokha’s trial sees new evidence submission

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Former opposition leader Kem Sokha (centre) leaving Phnom Penh Municipal Court after a hearing in January. Hong Menea

Sokha’s trial sees new evidence submission

The Phnom Penh Municipal Court prosecution has introduced additional evidence against former opposition leader Kem Sokha, putting more pressure on him in his ongoing treason trial over alleged conspiracy with a foreign power to overthrow the government.

The defence team of Sokha, former president of the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), are unhappy about the new evidence.

Court spokesman Plang Sophal told The Post that Sokha’s hearing dealt with more evidence presented by the prosecutor in connection with remarks by former senior CNRP lawmaker Ho Vann about demonstrations allegedly led by Sokha in the capital’s Stung Meanchey district and at other places.

“I think the lawyers were dissatisfied because the evidence clearly showed their client’s relationship to the demonstrations,” he said.

Co-defence lawyer Chan Chen told The Post after the 52nd hearing on August 17 that no progress had been made as the prosecution had introduced more evidence.

Chen said the prosecution had confirmed that additional evidence would be provided whenever it became available. He did not consider the newly admitted evidence relevant to the case.

“Our team – as well as our client – understand that the submission of this evidence is designed to delay the trial. It has been almost five years and we do not know when it will end,” he said.

He added that for all of his legal studies and knowledge of historical cases, he had never heard of the prosecution adding new evidence in such a trial. This was the first time he had heard of this, and it was being done in the 52nd hearing, he noted.

The next hearing is scheduled for August 24.

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