Kem Sokha, leader of the dissolved opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party, (Source: VNA)

Phnom Penh (VNA) – A court of Cambodia’s Phnom Penh city has rejected a request from lawyers of Kem Sokha, leader of the dissolved opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), for his treason charges to be dropped.

A decision issued by Judge Ky Rithy on January 4 said that it was compulsory to gather evidence and question all relevant witnesses before the probe could be concluded, as Kem Sokha’s alleged illegal collusion with foreigners lasted from 1993-2017.

Kem Sokha, 64, was arrested on September 3, 2017, and detained from September 6 the same year for the charge of “colluding with foreigners” under Article 443 of the country's Criminal Code.

More than two months after his arrest, the CNRP was dissolved by the Supreme Court and 118 senior party members banned from joining politics for five years.

On March 5, 2018, the Phnom Penh Municipal Court ordered an additional six months of detention for Kem Sokha.

On September 10, he was released from Trapeng Phlong prison in Tbong Khmum province and returned to his home in Phnom Penh.

He could face up to 30 years in prison if found guilty.-VNA