Phnom Penh (FN), Nov. 15 – Secretary of State of Ministry of Justice and spokesman Kim Santepheap clarified Thursday that Heang Rithy, whom Radio Free Asia (RFA) addressed as “Lawyer, Ph.D”, is an illegitimate lawyer according to President of the Bar Association of the Kingdom of Cambodia Soun Visal.

The Secretary of State said that Heang Rithy’s recent interview on RFA has misled Cambodian legal aspect.

In an interview with RFA, Heang Rithy criticized the government’s putting Kem Sokha under judicial control, which seems like house arrest.

“Kem Sokha is an accused. He has yet been sentenced. He is the suspect. As Cambodia does not have “house arrest”, when the court released him [Sokha] on bail, he shall be free and just appear at the court once a month” Rithy said.

“Heang Rithy whom RFA addressed as Lawyer, Ph.D is not a lawyer; Rithy himself also never rejected this title which made RFA audiences believe his interpretation,” said Santepheap, adding that “Such act has misled Cambodian legal aspects.”

Opposition’s legal team also accused the legitimate government of violating the Constitution and court’s independence for not releasing Kem Sokha.

In response, Cambodian Prime Minister called the opposition’s legal team “disabled in listening and analyzing to the premier’s words” and urged that they shall learn to listen to his word clearly before foolishly interpret.

“You [legal team] are not only incapable in laws, but also the disabled who could not listen to and analyze Prime Minister’s words correctly,” Prime Minister said.

Speaking in an interview with Fresh News CEO Lim Chea Vutha on Wednesday, Prime Minister stated that: “According to law came into force, not just wait for the horse to grow horns, it will not happen even in the next millennium, to pardon the accused whom has not been sentenced by the court.”

Prime Minister’s statement addressing to garment workers in Takeo province on 7 November is quoted as follows: “If not yet sentenced, there is no offenses to be pardoned. Hun Sen has no rights to request to His Majesty to grant an amnesty to an accused or when the court’s verdict has yet released […] I want to send message that wait until the horse grows horns for it the happen.”

It can be understood that Kem Sokha is not eligible to be granted amnesty, as he has yet been sentenced. Kem Sokha is the "accused" not the “convict”; therefore, Prime Minister could not exercise his privilege to request to His Majesty to grant amnesty to Kem Sokha.