Civil society asks for an end to the terrorist charge leveled against SRP activists 23-Jul-2010

22 July 2010
By Yun Samien
Radio Free Asia
Translated from Khmer by Socheata

Click here to read the article in Khmer


On Wednesday 21 July, several major civil society organizations in Cambodia have agreed to request the Kampong Thom provincial court to drop the terrorism charge leveled against 4 SRP activists.

Civil society organizations indicated that such charge is a threat to discourage opposition activists.

CHRAC and NICFEC issued a joint statement asking the Kampong Thom provincial court to drop the charges against the 4 SRP activists because the court accusations are baseless and lack sufficient proof.

At the beginning of July, the Kampong Thom provincial court accused 4 SRP activists – including Kim Hong, the No. 2 Kroya commune councilor, located in Prasat Balaing district, Uk Thorn, the chairman of the Prasat Balaing district council, Koy Koeun and Chom Cheav who are both SRP activists – after the four reported to the district authority about their concerns for the security of the villagers when rumors circulated that there is a paper tiger that went around to stab people.

Hang Chhaya, a facilitator for CHRAC, said on Thursday 22 July that these activists were merely expressing their concerns over the villagers’ security, they did not incite the villagers to become worried. He said that the court charges are more politically oriented than aimed at terrorism, and such accusations are pressures to prevent these activists from performing their party duty.

Hang Chhaya confirmed: “… It could involve political bias because, first of all, it involves SRP party activists, and this case took place almost one year ago! It’s an old story…”

Hang Chhaya added that the civil society if looking for lawyers to defend these activists.

On Thursday, Pen Sarat, the prosecutor of the Kampong Thom provincial court, said that the cops have sufficient proof to charge the 4 activists of terrorism. He said that the 4 activists incited the villagers to have concerns over the village security.

Pen Sarat claimed: “They investigated, the majority based on what the witnesses showed, they (4 activists) went around to create problem, they made the villagers going into havoc! It is not about paper tiger, this is to form a movement, a movement of the mind to make people scared…”

Pen Sarat added that the court is continuing to perform additional investigation, but it has not yet reached a point where the 4 activists would be sent to jail. He said that, even though the 4 activists are not armed, the law still allows that they be charged with terrorism.

On Thursday, Yim Sovann, SRP spokesman, called the Kampong Thom provincial court charges a joke. He said that this is a political case because the authority is concerned about the popularity of the opposition party in the province.