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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - June 11 trial date set for CFF suspects

June 11 trial date set for CFF suspects

Twenty-eight suspects arrested in the wake of the Nov 24, 2000 street fighting in

Phnom Penh are set to go to trial on June 11.

Phnom Penh Municipal Court Judge Sok Sothamony told the Post on May 24 that he had

proposed June 11 as the date of the trial to be held at the premises of the Supreme

Court due to space and security concerns.

"The Phnom Penh Municipal Court is so cramped, it's like a market," Sothamony

said. "Also previous big criminal trials at the court have been interrupted

by attempts to liberate the suspects."

The 28 men, suspected members of the Cambodian Freedom Fighters (CFF) linked to an

alleged abortive coup attempt in the early hours of Nov 24, by law should have been

either brought to trial or released by May 24. Another 26 CFF suspects arrested after

the fighting remain legally detained.

"[Judicial authorities] admit they are making a mistake in procedure but that

it is just a small matter," said Bun Honn, Secretary-General of the Cambodian

Bar Association, regarding the illegal extension of the men's detention. "They

say Cambodia has rule of law, but where is it?"

According to Article 22 of the Cambodian penal code, suspects must be brought to

trial within six months or released from custody pending further investigation.

Chum Sophea, a Cambodian Bar Association lawyer and one of 11legal representatives

of the 28 suspects, confirmed that more time was required to prepare the case and

that the court routinely violated the six-month release rule.



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