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Political Analyst Jailed Over Defamation Charges Filed By Prime Minister

Political analyst Kim Sok appeared at the court February 17, 2017. He was charged and sent to a pre-trial detention following hours of questioning by Cambodian prosecutors. (Hean Socheata/VOA Khmer)

Kim Sok was sued by Hun Sen following comments he made during a Radio Free Asia interview earlier this month.

A political analyst who allegedly linked Prime Minister Hun Sen to the murder of fellow commentator Kem Ley in July last year has been arrested and jailed pending a trial.

Kim Sok was also charged with incitement and sent to pre-trial detention on Friday after he was questioned by the Phnom Penh Municipal Court, according to a court spokesman.

He was sued by Hun Sen following comments he made during a Radio Free Asia interview earlier this month.

Sok was remanded into custody following hours of questioning on Friday by Judge Ros Piseth and sent to Prey Sar prison.

“The accused has the right to file a complaint to the higher court if he is not happy with the decision of the first court,” the court spokesman said.

Srey Ny, one of hundreds of people who went to the court with Sok, said she had traveled from Siem Reap to show her support.

She said she hoped Hun Sen would reconsider the legal action.

“I hope he would withdraw his complaint. I thank him in advance,” she said.

Political analyst Lao Mong Hay said Sok had shown good faith by appearing at the court as requested.

“They need to find the truth first, the complete truth,” he said, referring to the murder of Ley.

Hun Sen has demanded $500,000 compensation as part of the defamation claim.

On the other claim, Sok allegedly claimed the government had permitted numerous political murders to happen over the years, Hun Sen called for $2,500 in compensation.

Sok is the third person to face legal action over comments alleging that the government was behind the murder of Ley. Previously, Sam Rainsy, the former leader of the opposition, and an opposition senator, Thak Lany, were also charged.