Six Sent to Court Following Clashes With Police
By and | September 17, 2013

Officials at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Monday questioned six men accused of using violence against authorities when protesters clashed with security forces near Phnom Penh’s Monivong Bridge in fighting that saw a 29-year-old man shot dead.

The men were arrested Sun­day night, at the end of a day of demonstrations at Freedom Park and marches in the city led by the opposition CNRP.

Sanh Samoeun, 28; Ngugen Thi Dek, 20; Ek Chan Nu, 17; Tang Chongseang, 18; Song Nisai, 20; and Var Noeun, 20, were detained by Interior Ministry police late Sunday night and sent to court for questioning on Monday, said Interior Ministry penal police chief Lour Sokha.

“Police sent them to the court for questioning on Monday, but I don’t know whether they were charged or not,” Mr. Sokha said.

Court clerk Kem Cheng said the six men had been questioned by deputy prosecutor Sieng Sok and sent to investigating Judge Suos Sam Ath for further questioning.

“Deputy prosecutor Sieng Sok has questioned them and sent them to the investigating judge,” he said.

Chan Soveth, senior investigator for rights group Adhoc, who arrived at the scene of the clashes shortly before 7 p.m. on Sunday, said the arrests happened between 8 p.m. and 9 p.m.—shortly after Mao Chan, a commuter, was shot in the head and killed during an escalation in tensions between protesters and anti-riot forces.

“Around 8:30 [p.m.], a group of military police arrived. They opened the road…and they [made the] arrests,” Mr. Soveth said, putting the number of police at 1,000.

In a statement Monday, a group of 10 civil society organizations, including Adhoc and the Committee for Free and Fair Elections in Cambodia, called for the immediate release of the six men.

“At around 8:30 p.m., the victims moved razor-wire barricades in order to open up the road, and violence resulted when police fired tear gas, threw smoke grenades and fired live bullets into a crowd caught in the traffic jam, causing one death, eight injuries and six arrests,” the statement says.

“Please release the people who were arrested during the accident,” it says.

CNRP spokesman Yim Sovann said that his party had also requested that the men be freed.

“We appeal to the government authorities to release the six men who were arrested on Sunday,” he said, adding that the CNRP would launch its own investigation into whether the individuals had been CNRP supporters or mere bystanders.

(Additional reporting by Mech Dara)

© 2013, The Cambodia Daily. All rights reserved. No part of this article may be reproduced in print, electronically, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without written permission.

LATEST

The government has failed in recent years to take steps to prosecute perpetrators of sexual violence committed during the Khmer Rouge, according to the U.N. Secretary-General’s Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict.

Three Vietnamese nationals were arrested in Sihanoukville on Wednesday afternoon for kidnapping two 34-year-old Vietnamese men and demanding a $7,000 ransom from each of their families after luring them across the border on the pretense of a gambling trip, police said.

About 50 fired factory workers protested in front of the Phnom Penh Municipal court Wednesday after two of the factory’s five union representatives were summoned for questioning following strikes in February.

The appointment of General Sok Phal to head the Interior Ministry’s newly formed department to monitor migrant workers has raised concerns over his close familial connection to a labor recruitment industry fraught with human rights abuses.

As military police with AK-47s descended on protesting garment workers during their nationwide strike on January 3, Sam Ravy, a manager at one of the many factories along Phnom Penh’s Veng Sreng Street, was on the phone with his mother-in-law.

The Cambodia Daily | All the News Without Fear or Favor | The Daily Newspaper of Record Since 1993