PHNOM PENH - Prime Minister Hun Sen on Wednesday threatened to file a lawsuit against senior opposition official Kem Sokha, if he and others of the Cambodia National Rescue Party don’t stop accusing the ruling party of a plot against them.
His public speech seemed to indicate a continuation of a wave of attacks on Kem Sokha, the top opposition leader in the country, and follows public accusations that Kem Sokha denied Khmer Rouge atrocities and that he has a mistress.
Observers say the threat seamed to be a use of the courts by Hun Sen and the ruling Cambodian People’s Party to pressure the opposition ahead of the July 28 elections.
“Any individual in that party who says the Cambodian People’s Party orchestrates these will face a lawsuit in court,” Hun Sen said during a speech in Kandal province on Wednesday.
He has ordered Say Chhum, secretary-general of the CPP, to prepare the complaint, Hun Sen said.
Hun Sen went on to describe complaints against Kem Sokha, who is the vice president of the Cambodia National Rescue Party, one by outspoken Khmer Rouge survivor Chhum Mey, and one by an unidentified woman who claimed recently to be his mistress.
Opposition officials say these statements, broadcast nationwide through the media, are an attempt to discredit the opposition.
“People are already aware of that, and the current media publication shows what type of media runs these stories,” Kem Sokha told VOA Khmer Wednesday. “The public knows and can make the assessment themselves. We don’t need to say much.”
Koul Panha, head of the Committee for Free and Fair Elections, a watchdog group, said Hun Sen’s threat appears to be aimed at putting pressure on the opposition “using the courts.”