Cambodian King Norodom Sihamoni signed a royal decree on Friday to deliver a pardon to Kem Sokha, deputy leader of the main opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), at the request of Prime Minister Samdech Techo Hun Sen.
In the royal decree, the king granted amnesty to Kem Sokha, 63, who was convicted of refusal to appear in court over a prostitution case and got sentenced to five months in prison by the Appeal Court of Cambodia on Nov. 4, 2016.
“Prime Minister Samdech Techo Hun Sen of the Kingdom of Cambodia must take responsibility to implement this royal decree from the day of signature,” the king wrote.
The pardon was made after Kem Sokha wrote a letter on Thursday to ask Hun Sen to request the King to grant him a pardon, and Hun Sen agreed on Friday.
Kem Sokha has been holed up at the CNRP’s headquarters on the southern outskirts of Phnom Penh since May 26 in fear of arrest, as dozens of his loyalists have gathered at the party’s ground floor to protect him.
The accusation against Kem Sokha stems from leaked audio clips of a telephone conversation between him and his alleged mistress in February. In the clips, they discussed sex, pregnancy and payment for an apartment.
Kem Sokha has not publicly commented on the veracity of the audio recordings, instead he advised his supporters not to respond to provocation. Enditem