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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Investigation into former Bavet town governor closed, but still no trial

Investigation into former Bavet town governor closed, but still no trial

Court officials have concluded an investigation into former Bavet town governor Chhouk Bandith, charged with shooting three women at a protest in February this year, but still cannot confirm if he will be arrested.

Svay Rieng Provincial Court president Judge Pich Chhert, who is presiding over the case, said yesterday he was unsure whether Bandith would be arrested.

“We will try to undertake this case late this month or early in December. We are unaware how [other] investigating judges conclude to drop the accusations or set a date for the hearing,” Chhert said.

Rights groups have decried the courts for failing to try Bandith more than nine months after the shooting took place outside the Kaoway shoe factory, in Bavet town’s Manhattan Special Economic Zone.

Bandith allegedly shot the three women, including one through the chest, in front of about 6,000 rowdy protesters.

All three women survived and are demanding $45,000 compensation each.

On April 18, Bandith was charged with unintentionally injuring the three women after accidentally shooting them while, the court claims, he was aiming to fire his gun in the air.

The most seriously injured of the three victims, 21-year-old Buot Chenda, said she had no faith in the court.

“The intention of court is to release the guilty suspect. It is so difficult in our country between poor and powerful people,” she said.

To contact the reporter on this story: May Titthara at titthara.may@phnompenhpost.com

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