Jailed Commentator Kim Sok Alleges Illegal Detention, Seeks Bail

A lawyer filed a request on Friday to release jailed political commentator Kim Sok on bail, arguing his detention at Phnom Penh’s Prey Sar prison was illegal as he had committed no crime.

Choung Choungy, who has a history of representing opposition politicians at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court, argued in a written request that the court should release Mr. Sok on bail as the comments for which he was charged caused no public disorder.

Kim Sok walks to the Phnom Penh Municipal Court last week. (Siv Channa/The Cambodia Daily)

“Until now, we cannot conclude whether or not Mr. Kim Sok really incited to commit a crime because no crime has occurred because of Mr. Kim Sok’s commentary,” he said.

Mr. Sok was hit in February with two separate lawsuits filed by Prime Minister Hun Sen demanding more than $500,000 in damages over comments he made on Radio Free Asia that appeared to link the ruling party with the July murder of political analyst Kem Ley.

The defense attorney also assured the court that Mr. Sok, who was imprisoned on defamation and incitement charges on February 17, would appear in court when summoned. Mr. Sok, a former university lecturer with a graduate degree in finance from China, has repeatedly said he would not run from the accusations.

Mr. Sok was active in royalist parties through 2008, when he began a five-year stint as a contractor at the Information Ministry before getting the business degree in China. Fellow commentators say that Mr. Sok only became active as a stridently anti-government pundit over the last several months.

The Appeal Court was expected to hear a separate request regarding the court’s arrest procedures on March 6, Mr. Choungy said.

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