Two more questioned in ‘treason’ case against former CNRP leader


The investigating judge at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Wednesday questioned two more witnesses in a treason case against former Cambodia National Rescue Party leader Kem Sokha.

Khoeun Virath, who after last year’s commune election became the first deputy chief for Sangkhat Boeung Tompun 2, in Phnom Penh’s Meanchey district, was questioned for more than one hour by Investigative Judge Ky Rithy.

Another witness, Heng Pisith, from online media outlet Social Breaking News, was questioned later the same day.

Turning to the tuk-tuk

After the CNRP was dissolved and his deputy commune chief position was given to the CPP commune chief candidate, Virath became a tuk-tuk driver. He said after questioning that he had fulfilled his obligations.

“Because the court process is underway, I cannot say much because it affects the procedures. But I have already fulfilled my obligation as a witness after they summonsed me in connection to Kem Sokha’s case,” Virath said.

He did not divulge any reasons for being called as a witness. Asked how well he knew Sokha, Virath said, “I don’t even know what car Sokha had. I only know my tuk-tuk is yellow,” he said, declining to comment further.

Piseth also declined to comment saying that if he did, it would violate court procedures.

Eight summonsed

Rithy has so far summonsed eight people. As of today, five had been questioned: Virath; Piseth; Chak Sopheap, the executive director of the Cambodian Center for Human Rights (CCHR); Kry Song, a former employee of CCHR; and Meas Kimseng, a former official at housing rights group Sahmakum Teang Tnautas.

Two witnesses failed to appear, including Pa Nguon Teang, the director of the Cambodian Center for Independent Media, and Sia Phearum, the former executive director of the Housing Rights Task Force.

The eighth witness, Keo Rotana, a former host on CNRP’s now-halted radio station, is set to appear in court on Friday.