Phnom Penh: A court in Cambodia began trial of deputy opposition leader Kem Sokha on Friday for his “refusal to appear” in a prostitution case.

Security has been tightened at the court here as dozens of opposition supporters rallied outside it and a few hundred others gathered at the headquarters of opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) to protect Kem Sokha, who has holed up at the party’s headquarters since May 26 for fear of arrest.

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CNRP Vice President Kem Sokha was charged with “refusal to appear” in May after he ignored two court summons. Under the charge, he could face a prison term between one and six months, Xinhua news agency reported.

The accusation against Kem Sokha stems from leaked audio clips of telephone conversation between him and his alleged mistress in February. In the clips, they discussed sex, pregnancy and paying for an apartment.

Kem Sokha has not commented on the veracity of the audio recordings, instead advising his supporters not to respond to provocation.

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