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Hun Sen nominates US agents for awards

THE Royal Government has nominated five agents of the United States' Federal Bureau of Investigation and one from its Internal Revenue Service to receive medals of appreciation for the investigation that led to the arrest of Chhun Yasith, mastermind of the Cambodian Freedom Fighters' failed but bloody coup in 2000.

In response to a request by Minister of Interior Sar Kheng, Prime Minister Hun Sen signed a sub-decree on June 10 authorising issuance of the medals to FBI agents Robert Cahill, Robert Burkes, Laro Tan, Miguel Luna and Donald Shannon, as well as IRS official Jeff Clark.

A US embassy spokesman said Thursday that the agents had not yet received the medals.

"We know they've been nominated for the award, but other than that we don't know anything," John Johnson said.

The FBI arrested Chhun Yasith, a 51-year-old accountant, and his wife at their home in Long Beach, a city south of Los Angeles.

On April 16, a US court found Chhun Yasith guilty of violating that country's Neutrality Act, which prohibits conspiring to kill or damage property on foreign soil, and sentenced him to life imprisonment. His wife will be tried separately.

Moek Dara, chief of the Interior Ministry's Anti-Narcotics Department, said Thursday that he had worked closely with the FBI for many years in his former position as chief of the Penal Department to see Chhun Yasith brought to justice.

"The FBI provided huge assistance in the Chhun Yasith case," he told the Post.

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