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Cambodian court summons opposition leader after protest


Cambodian court summons opposition leader after protest

PHNOM PENH, July 17 (Xinhua) -- The Phnom Penh Municipal Court has summoned Cambodia's opposition acting president Kem Sokha to question about a violent clash between opposition activists and security guards on Tuesday that left more than 40 persons injured.

According to summons signed by the court's questioning judge Keo Mony on Wednesday and delivered to Kem Sokha on Thursday, the judge ordered Kem Sokha to appear at the court in the morning of July 25.

The summons said Kem Sokha will be questioned (about the violent clash) because he is the leader of the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP).

The summons came after a Tuesday protest, led by opposition CNRP leaders, turned violent, resulting in more than 40 persons injured, mostly security guards.

At least six opposition CNRP politicians--five Members of Parliament (MPs)-elect and one party member--have been arrested following the clash.

The Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Wednesday afternoon charged them with insurrection and incitement, which could face between 20 and 30 years in jail if convicted, said Am Sam Ath, a senior investigator for the rights group Licadho.

On Thursday, security has been tightened around the court and the Prey Sar prison, where those politicians are detained, as about 100 CNRP activists gathered outside the court and another group of about 30 persons rallied outside the prison to demand the release of the politicians.

Kem Sokha denied Wednesday that CNRP leaders incited supporters to commit violence and called for the release of those MPs-elect.

Clashes between security forces and CNRP supporters have periodically happened since a parliamentary election in July last year. The polling results showed that the ruling Cambodian People' s Party of Prime Minister Hun Sen won 68 parliamentary seats against 55 seats for the CNRP.

The CNRP has refused to accept the election outcome which, it says, was marred by fraud, and it has boycotted parliament and held protests to demand an electoral reform and an early election.