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Councillor for CNRP arrested

An opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party district councillor in Phnom Penh was arrested yesterday in connection with a CNRP-led protest at Freedom Park on July 15 that turned violent.

At least 15 CNRP members or supporters have been charged in connection with the violence, which saw security guards attacked by mobs after they moved to crack down on previously peaceful protesters.

Chuon Narin, the Phnom Penh deputy police chief, said that Chbar Ampov district councillor Sum Puthy was arrested on a court warrant yesterday but did not specify the charges.

“He was sent to the police station and forwarded on to the court immediately since it was a court warrant,” he said.

According to Puthy’s wife, Mak Chan, he must have been arrested yesterday morning after dropping her off at a market and making his way to a council meeting. Colleagues sounded the alarm after he did not appear, she said.

A group of seven lawmakers and an activist were arrested in the immediate aftermath of the July protest.

They were hit with serious charges such as insurrection, but were set free after a political deal was reached between the CNRP and the ruling Cambodian People’s Party on July 22 to end the nearly yearlong post-election political deadlock.

Three youth activists, including a fellow Chbar Ampov district councillor, were then arrested on similar charges but released on bail on August 22 after weeks behind bars.

A handful of other CNRP members have been summoned to court for questioning, but Narin, the deputy police chief, could not confirm yesterday whether any other arrest warrants had been issued.

Opposition spokesman Yim Sovann yesterday said the arrest was “political”.

“The 15 July event case is a political issue and both parties have to follow [the July 22 agreement] to end the bad political situation,” he said.

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