CNRP Members Summoned for Questioning in Takeo, Phnom Penh

The Takeo Provincial Court has issued summons for six CNRP commune election candidates for questioning today related to a campaign confrontation in which a party member called a CPP supporter “stupid.”

In an unrelated case, the Phnom Penh Municipal Court issued a summons on Tuesday for Morn Phalla, head of the CNRP’s Phnom Penh executive committee, related to a capital campaign clash Mr. Phalla said he did not attend.

The Takeo suspects stand accused of “public defamation, public insults and incitement to commit a felony” over a May campaign incident in which 20 CNRP members allegedly halted a CPP rally, according to summons delivered to the six suspects on Thursday.

Video footage of the standoff shows a CNRP supporter calling a rival supporter “stupid” and seeming to accuse the CPP of murder. The plaintiff in the case has told reporters that the CPP’s “upper level” asked her to file the court complaint.

Five suspects—three of whom were ultimately elected councilors—were initially identified and summoned for questioning, but the court agreed to delay the hearing until after the commune elections.

Last week’s summons added Sun Voeun, a 31-year-old CNRP candidate who was not mentioned in previous warrants.

Phann Sopheak, a spokesman at the Takeo Provincial Court, said prosecutors suspected Ms. Voeun of also being involved.

But Keo Eat, one of the suspects in the case, and who was elected second deputy chief of Prey Khla commune in the June 4 vote, said Ms. Voeun was otherwise occupied at the time.

“She knows nothing about this case,” he said. “She was not there. She was giving birth at the time.”

Ms. Voeun could not be reached for comment.

Mr. Eat called the case “politically motivated,” but said the group would appear for questioning today.

Mr. Phalla, meanwhile, could not be reached for comment on the warrant issued by the Phnom Penh court, which asked him to appear for questioning before July 17 after he failed to answer two prior requests by police.

The capital CNRP official stands accused of intentional violence with aggravating circumstances over the alleged beating of a motorbike driver by opposition supporters at a May campaign rally, which Mr. Phalla has maintained he did not attend.

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