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Cambodia begins treason trial against opposition leader despite global outcry

16 January 2020

The footage - a two minute clip of Sokha's 2013 speech - was played to the court this morning.

"There is no specific evidence", Sokha told AFP on Wednesday during a break in proceedings.

"The government should cut their losses by dropping the charges against him".

Kem Sokha, 66, was arrested in September 2017 and charged with treason over the video. "We don't need the King [Norodom Sihamoni] to pardon him".

Kem Sokha He was placed under house arrest at the end of 2018 and released in November previous year. "People inside and outside Cambodia will be watching to see what the bloc will do". Government lawyer Ky Tech said the case would involve 27 witnesses, and the alleged conspiracy was linked to several countries and nongovernment organizations.

"This video isn't complete, the content is out of context, it has been edited". "This could affect the rights of the accused", he told reporters. It is not the guilt or innocence of Kem Sokha, but about the future political course of the Cambodian government.

"On another note, yesterday after reflecting myself, I seemed to express an outraged gesture when I was asked by a brother that, by mentioning Taiwan, he said or he wanted to accuse that we recognized [Taiwan] as a state".

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Hun Sen consolidated its control over power after Kem SokhaArrest, dissolving the CNRP, prohibiting its members of politics and inciting high-level opposition politicians to flee overseas. "It's common that a defendant claims that they are innocent".

"We, the lawyers, have two bags of evidence".

Mr Sokha's daughter Monovithya Kem called the trial against her father a "farce" as rights groups called for the case to be dismissed.

"There is only one solution: The court must drop charges against Kem Sokha". His political rights also need to be reinstated so Cambodia can get back on the track.

Mu Sochua The CNRP vice president now dissolved, said the result had already been decided.

The defense had requested the court to accommodate journalists in the trial by at least screening the proceedings, said defense lawyer Pheng Heng.

"An acquittal would undermine the government's accusation of treason", she said.

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Police guarded roads surrounding the court, while a growing number of activists waited in front of the building to express their support for the opposition leader. "I want to see what evidence they show". He remained in jail for a year and was put under house arrest later on. They keep changing the date of release. The trial itself can last approximately 3 months.

The trial could therefore run past the European Union's February 12 deadline for a final decision on whether to withdraw Cambodia's duty-free market access to the bloc under its Everything But Arms scheme.

Reporters and human rights monitors were barred, with the limited seating reserved for foreign diplomats and relatives. It initiated its formal withdrawal procedure in February past year.

"I did NOT bring in any foreign state or foreign agents to conduct hostilities or an invasion against the Kingdom of Cambodia".

The human rights group Amnesty International called for the charges against Kem Sokha to be dropped.

It could take up to three months to deliver a verdict, defence lawyers said on Tuesday, meaning the case could still be ongoing by the time the European Union (EU) makes a decision on its trade policy next month on whether to cut Cambodia's preferential trade status over its human rights record.

"[But] if this is a show for the worldwide community, then the court and the government must hold this trial with more transparency than usual".

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Cambodia begins treason trial against opposition leader despite global outcry