PHNOM PENH (FN), June 7 – In a recent meeting with the Minister of Justice, the new U.S. Ambassador to Cambodia William A. Heidt expressed concern over the political situation in Cambodia and called on the country to take actions in compliance with the legal procedures on the issue of the opposition party acting president Kem Sokha, said spokesperson of the Ministry of Justice, Chin Malin.

In a courtesy call on the Minister Justice Ang Vong Vathana on June 6, 2016 at the ministry, Mr. William A. Heidt said, as U.S. Ambassador to Cambodia, he did not take side with either the opposition or with the government and was only worried about the situation.

On his part, Minister Vathana explained to the Ambassador the legal aspects as well as the legal procedures in Cambodia.
The acting president of the Cambodian National Rescue Party Kem Sokha has refused two summonses by Phnom Penh Municipal Court for him to appear in the court as a witness to a legal complaint on prostitution involving a woman, Khom Chandarati, also known as Srey Mom.

Upon a report by the court, after Sokha’s objection to the summonses, the National Assembly, under an absolute majority, voted for the court to continue the legal procedures against Sokha.

The municipal court prosecutor laid charges against Sokha on failure to appear in the court as a witness under article 538 of the Criminal Code that states: “Any person who is summoned to testify as witness before a prosecutor or an investigating judge or a criminal court and refuses to appear himself/herself following the summon without any valid reason is punishable by an imprisonment from 1 (one) month to 6 (six) months and a fine from 100,000 (one hundred thousand) Riels ($25) to 1,000,000 (one million) Riels ($250).”