A MEMBER of the Sam Rainsy Party was called to Mondulkiri provincial court on Tuesday for questioning in connection with a recent dispute involving himself, his nephew and a district councillor for the Cambodian People’s Party that erupted over a card game.
The incident occurred last September in Mondulkiri’s Keo Seima district when CPP district councillor Nuon Sophan allegedly attacked the nephew of SRP member Khum Khan.
“Sophan lost the betting, and my nephew, Vai Ngeang Nham, called him a ‘dog’ because he did not respect a promise we made before the game to pay up,” Khum Khan said. “Then the fight broke out.”
The fight didn’t involve me.... i am afraid, but i will go to court.
The stakes of the game were less than US$1.
“I wasn’t involved in the attack, but I was summoned to court for questioning about inciting violence,” Khum Khan said. “After questioning me, the prosecutor told me to go home and said there was no problem.”
Chhay Thi, a provincial monitor for the rights group Adhoc, said the dispute had been brought before the court because Nuon Sophan had not fulfilled a promise to pay the victim 1 million riels (US$240) in compensation as part of an out-of-court settlement.
An Samnang, an SRP district councillor who has been summoned to appear at the court next month, also denied any involvement in the fight.
“The fight didn’t involve me. I had just helped them avoid violence, and now I am accused of incitement,” he said. “I am afraid, but I will go to court after I get my lawyer.”
No charges have yet been brought in the case because judges are still conducting an investigation, Chhay Thi said.
“I hope that the court will play an independent role to provide justice for the victims,” Chhay Thi said.
Noun Saphan could not be reached for comment on Tuesday.
Long Ry, an SRP lawmaker investigating the case, said he questioned why the case had been dragged out for so long, adding that he was concerned that the dispute would turn political.
“We are concerned that the court summons is a way of intimidating our councillors and interrupting them from performing their work in the district council,” he said.
Court officials could not be reached on Tuesday.