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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Christians harassed, but for politics: Adhoc

Christians harassed, but for politics: Adhoc

The Ratanakkiri office of rights group Adhoc filed a complaint yesterday to provincial authorities after four opposition party activists were questioned over a new village church they had set up.

The activists were questioned by soldiers and police officers earlier this month on suspicions that they were trying to establish their own “authorities” after they began looking for a church representative, youth leader and teacher for a new religious office in Lumphat district’s Seda commune, Adhoc said on Monday.

“Police questioned them one by one about [whether they were trying to] establish village and commune authorities and district police officers that would serve the Cambodia National Rescue Party,” Adhoc provincial coordinator Chhay Thy said.

Such overzealous policing is “political discrimination, and placing restrictions on CNRP activists” he said.

According to a summons from district police obtained by the Post on Monday, one of the CNRP activists, Sev Dek, 35, was called in to be questioned over “issues” that were not specified.

On Tuesday, Dek said he was questioned by district police chief Souy Thay and a soldier also visited his home.

“He asked me about [whether we were trying to] appoint village and commune authorities and district forestry [authorities]. I told him that it was not true,” Dek said, adding it was clear police had confused the activists’ church activities with their political affiliations.

Souy Thay, district police chief, said local sources told him that CNRP activists were choosing and appointing members.

“We did not intimidate them, we just wanted to know and they said they were looking for new [church] members to appoint to a new committee [which is not a problem],” he said.

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