Cambodian opposition leader in standoff with police

Phnom Penh (dpa) – Cambodian deputy opposition leader Kem Sokha marked a one-month standoff with police Saturday, evading arrest by holing up at his party headquarters.

The Anti-Corruption Unit has attempted to arrest him several times since May 26 and compel him to attend his corruption trial. He stands accused of infidelity and soliciting prostitution with an alleged mistress.

“The government knows exactly where I am, I am not in hiding. This is to stand up to their abuse, to set precedent that we no longer accept court abuse. I live and work in the compound now,” the Cambodian National Rescue Party politician said by email. 

Sokha has parliamentary immunity, but police can compel him to attend court if he fails to respond to court summonses. Government spokesman Phay Siphan said the courts simply want “due process of law,” to have him testify before the corruption unit. 

The case has escalated political tensions between Cambodia and its foreign donors, as it has also led to the prosecution of four non-governmental organization staff and one election official.

They are in prison awaiting trial for allegedly telling Sokha to lie to the police.

Opposition leader Sam Rainsy is living in France, after being charged with criminal defamation in November. 

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