Kim Sok Accuses Hun Sen of Abusing Power at Bail Hearing

Jailed political commentator Kim Sok on Wednesday used his bail hearing to accuse Prime Minister Hun Sen of using his power to ensure his arrest and repeat a previous claim that he was being improperly detained at Prey Sar Prison.

Mr. Sok, who was charged in February for defamation and incitement after being accused of using a radio interview to link the CPP to the murder of political analyst Kem Ley, told the court that he would abide by any bail conditions, including a hypothetical requirement to remain inside the Hun Sen library in Phnom Penh.

Jailed political commentator Kim Sok speaks to reporters as he is escorted through the Court of Appeal in Phnom Penh in March. (Emil Kastrup/The Cambodia Daily)

He said the premier’s far-reaching powers meant it would be impossible for him to breach bail conditions—even if he wanted to.

“My plaintiff is Samdech Hun Sen. He used to say that he could know who farts…so I can’t leave to go anywhere,” he said, referring to a 2008 comment in which Mr. Hun Sen boasted of his intelligence-gathering capabilities.

Mr. Sok said that as soon as he left the Radio Free Asia office after the interview on February 12, Mr. Hun Sen “used his power before the prosecutor to order civil authorities to follow me.”

Mr. Hun Sen initially sued the commentator, who was already denied bail once after his March appeal hearing, for more than $500,000, and later sued him again for $2,500 after Mr. Sok reiterated his comments.

Mr. Sok also repeated claims that men working for Mr. Hun Sen sought a public apology in return for his release, allegedly threatening to put him in a “dark prison” if he refused.

The court’s decision on bail will be announced on Wednesday.

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