THE trial of five men accused of belonging to a terrorist organisation that allegedly attempted to place bombs in the capital in 2007 and earlier this year resumed in Phnom Penh Municipal Court Thursday.
The defendants – Sok Ek, Loeuk Bunhean, Phy Savoeung, Pov Vannara and Chea Kimyan – are charged with delivering, placing, discharging or detonating an explosive or lethal device in a public place, and recruiting and training terrorists. They face up to 30 years in prison if convicted.
Government officials say they are part of a group called the Khmer National Unity Front (KNUF), also known as the Tiger Liberation Movement or the Tiger Head Movement.
Tieng Sarath, deputy police chief of the Ministry of Interior’s Anti-Terrorism Department, appeared as a witness, telling the court that Som Ek was the mastermind of the group, and that police had seized bomb plans and explosives from his house in Banteay Meanchey province.
“The explosive substances and manuals for explosive production were to help me produce fireworks to earn money, not to concoct plots against the government,” Som Ek said, denying the allegations.
The other four men present denied having any relationship with the KNUF or plots against the government. Judge Chhay Kong said the court would hold its next hearing in the case on December 15, but did not specify a date for the verdict.