National Heart Party’s Phluk appeals detention

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Siem Pluk had his photo taken at police station before place in pre-trial detention for forging documents on April 27. POLICE

The Phnom Penh Municipal Court of Appeal has summoned lawyer Choung Choungy – who represents Siem Phluk, founder of the Cambodia National Heart Party (CNHP) – to appear in court on May 18 regarding the appeal of his client’s provisional detention order dated April 27.

According to the summons signed by Appeal Court prosecutor Im Sophan on May 10, Phluk has been charged with “forgery and the use of forged documents” for incidents that took place in the capital in 2021, which were criminal offences punishable under articles 626, 628 and 667 of the Criminal Code.

Choungy told The Post on May 12 that the purpose of the appeal is to get the court to overturn the detention order and release him.

According to Choungy, his client’s case is not over yet and the municipal court has just started its investigation but the authorities arrested Phluk prematurely and should only have detained him temporarily.

He claimed that the case was a political matter and the question of the validity of the thumbprints on CNHP documents were raised in order to thwart the people’s expression of their political will.

He further said that the Ministry of Interior examined the documents in a haphazard manner without scrutinising all aspects of them and without the participation or input of the CNHP.

Choungy said that although some of the documents may have been incorrect, it did not cause any harm to the interior ministry, its officials or to any other political parties or candidates.

Therefore, he said, the arrest and detention of Phluk due to irregular documents was an unwarranted overreaction caused by political discrimination and that is why the appeal court should release him.

Municipal Court Investigating Judge Ly Sokha ordered Phluk’s pre-trial detention on April 22 until a full hearing could be scheduled on the matter after Phluk was arrested and charged.

On March 2, the interior ministry decided to remove the CNHP from the list of eligible political parties after the Supreme Court issued a ruling that dismissed Phluk’s lawsuit against the ministry.