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Kem Sokha to Be Questioned by Judge in Remote Prison

Opposition party Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) President Kem Sokha greets his supporters from a truck as he leads a rally during the last day of campaigning ahead of communal elections in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Friday, June 2, 2017. Cambodia's longtime ruler Hun Sen warned opposition parties Friday not to challenge the result of Sunday's local elections or they could be dissolved. (AP Photo/Heng Sinith)

The court has also summoned Kem Sokha’s lawyers to attend the questioning, scheduled for November 24.

The detained leader of Cambodia’s opposition, Kem Sokha, will be questioned by a judge at the rural prison where he is being held on treason charges at the end of the month.

Court documents filed on Tuesday show that Ky Rithy, investigating judge from the Phnom Penh Municipal Court, will visit Sokha at Correctional Center 3 in Tbong Khmum province.

The court has also summoned Sokha’s lawyers to attend the questioning, scheduled for November 24.

Sokha was arrested and charged with treason in early September for allegedly conspiring with a foreign power to overthrow the government, allegations he denies. Many believe the charges to be politically motivated, and the government has yet to produce evidence supporting its claim.

Sam Sokong, Sokha’s lawyer, said the visit to the prison violated legal procedure, which should see his client questioned in a courtroom.

He added that the legal team would also feel under pressure in the prison environment, overseen by a prison service widely seen as corrupt.

Y Rin, a court spokesman, could not be reached for comment.

Sok Sam Oeun, a veteran human rights lawyer, however, said it was at the judge’s discretion whether to question a suspect in prison or in a courtroom.

“If an investigating judge thinks it is difficult to transport him or they may face other difficulties, he can go to question him [Sokha] by himself,” he said.

“It does not matter, but the trial must be conducted in a court.”