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Complaints filed in prison release case

A localL rights group filed a formal complaint to Ratanakkiri provincial court yesterday, calling for investigations into a case of a jailed former provincial police chief who allegedly injured three people in a drunk-driving crash while he was temporarily released from prison.

Yoeung Baloung – who was sentenced to 13 years in prison in 2006 after being convicted of involvement with illegal logging  – was allegedly released from Ratanakkiri provincial prison on Friday so he could attend a party.

Provincial traffic police have disputed reports that Yoeung Baloung caused the traffic accident, which injured three people, claiming that the driver involved was Katreng Lounh, the 33-year-old husband of Yoeung Baloung’s niece.

Pen Bonnar, provincial coordinator for the rights group Adhoc, said yesterday that he had called for prison officials and traffic police to be investigated along with Yoeung Baloung, describing their actions as “absolutely illegal”.

“We will work on two cases at same time,” he said.

“The first case is related to the involvement of the provincial prison officials in releasing the offender outside detention, and the second is the car accident caused by the offender, Yoeung Baloung.”

Pen Bonnar said he also planned to file complaints to the Interior Ministry and the Anticorruption Unit within the next few days.

Justice Minister Ang Vong Vathana said yesterday that he had issued a letter earlier this week asking the provincial prosecutor to investigate the case, but had not yet received the results of the investigation.

“I don’t know yet, now we let the judge check the case [regarding] why the offender was released and caused a car accident,” he said.

“I haven’t got a report from the provincial prosecutor.”

Ros Saram, deputy prosecutor at the court in Ratanakkiri, said prison officials and traffic police had already been summoned for questioning, and that a report on the incident would be sent to the Ministry of Interior today.

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