Sokha will ‘not be el­i­gi­ble’ for re­in­state­ment of rights

The Phnom Penh Post - - NATIONAL - Mech Dara

SE­NIOR gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials said on Thurs­day that re­gard­less of whether a pro­posed amend­ment to the law is passed, former op­po­si­tion leader Kem Sokha will not be el­i­gi­ble for a re­in­state­ment of his po­lit­i­cal rights as he is in­volved in an on­go­ing court case.

Sokha, the former pres­i­dent of the Supreme Court-dis­solved Cam­bo­dia Na­tional Res­cue Party (CNRP), is cur­rently on bail await­ing trial on trea­son charges.

The se­nior of­fi­cials’ com­ments came after the Per­ma­nent Com­mit­tee of the Na­tional As­sem­bly put up for re­view, a pro­posed amend­ment to Ar­ti­cle 45 of the Law on Po­lit­i­cal Par­ties.

The amend­ment would al­low the prime min­is­ter to re­quest King Norodom Si­ha­moni to re­turn full po­lit­i­cal rights to those who have had them re­moved by the courts.

Min­istry of In­te­rior spokesman Gen­eral Khieu Sopheak told The Post on Thurs­day that Sokha would not be con­sid­ered for a re­view.

“Kem Sokha still has his case pend­ing at the mu­nic­i­pal court. He has not yet been tried so he will not be el­i­gi­ble,” he said.

Sopheak said that after Ar­ti­cle 45 of the Law on Po­lit­i­cal Par­ties is amended, the min­istry would re­view the cases of the 118 CNRP politi­cians who have been barred by the Supreme Court from en­gag­ing in po­lit­i­cal ac­tiv­i­ties for five years.

He said the min­istry would only re­quest the King to re­store the po­lit­i­cal rights to those who had not vi­o­lated the Supreme Court’s or­der to stay out of pol­i­tics, while those who had made po­lit­i­cal com­ments in­sult­ing the gov­ern­ment or “dam­aged na­tional in­ter­ests” would not be con­sid­ered.

“Since Novem­ber 16 last year, what they have done, how many times they have been in­volved in demon­stra­tions, how many times they have been quoted in news­pa­pers at­tack­ing the gov­ern­ment, how many times have been in­volved in pol­i­tics, we have all the lists.

“And what they did on Face­book, like in­sult­ing the gov­ern­ment, we have all, and even more se­ri­ous, the ones who have dam­aged na­tional in­ter­ests. We know, we have seen it as clearly as our palms – we have wit­nessed with our own eyes and heard with our own ears.

“We have seen all the ac­tiv­i­ties of the 118 in­di­vid­u­als. Those who have vi­o­lated [the or­der of the courts], and those who have not, we know all,” he said.

The min­is­ter Sar Kheng told jour­nal­ists on Thurs­day that his min­istry would look into the with­drawal of bans handed down to the 118 former CNRP of­fi­cials by the Supreme Court when the law change came into ef­fect.

“I see those who have re­spected the ver­dict [and] pri­or­ity will be [given] to those who have re­spected the ver­dict,” Sar Kheng said.

When asked whether former CNRP pres­i­dent Sokha would be el­i­gi­ble for hav­ing his rights re­turned, Sar Kheng said: [It is for] those who [are con­sid­ered to] have re­spected the court’s ver­dict, so I can’t say.”

HONG MENEA

Kem Sokha ‘will not be el­i­gi­ble’ for a re­in­state­ment of po­lit­i­cal rights, a spokesman for the In­te­rior Min­istry said on Thurs­day.

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