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Opposition Official Summoned in Atrocities Denial Suit

Khmer Rouge survivor Chum Mey, 81, right, talks to reporters as another survivor Bou Meng, 70, left, listens at Choeung Ek stupa, former Khmer Rouge killing field in the outskirt of Phnom Penh, file photo.
PHNOM PENH - Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Tuesday summoned senior opposition official Kem Sokha to appear Wednesday, to answer allegations he broke a newly passed law against Khmer Rouge atrocity denial.

Kem Sokha is being sued by Khmer Rouge survivor Chhum Mey for allegedly claiming the atrocities committed by the regime at one of its notorious prisons were staged by the Vietnamese forces that eventually ousted the regime.

Kem Sokha, who is the vice president of the Cambodia National Rescue Party, says the allegations have been trumped up by the ruling party in order to discredit the opposition ahead of July 28 national elections.

Chhum Mey, who survived imprisonment at Tuol Sleng, said he wants the court to decide on Kem Sokha’s words.

Kem Sokha told VOA Khmer Tuesday that the court should not summon him during the monthlong campaign period leading into the elections.

“The court has summoned me repeatedly, so that means that the municipal court is involved with politics,” he said.

Kem Sokha’s lawyer, Choung Chu Ngy, said he will request that the court postpone the summons until after the election.