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Krom monks in court to face ‘weapons’ charge

Three former Khmer Krom monks have been questioned by a Phnom Penh Municipal Court investigating judge over charges of “participation in a criminal association”, after two were detained in November for carrying bamboo flag poles allegedly to be used as weapons.

The trio had been supporting Boeung Kak land activists staying at the Samaki Rainsy pagoda where the monks were based.

One among them, Soeun Hay, is currently serving a one-year sentence for protesting outside the Phnom Penh Municipal Court in November against the arrest of Boeung Kak activists. He was later implicated in the ongoing case after monks Khit Vannak and Sang Kosal said the flag poles had come from his room at the pagoda.

The pair have consistently denied they were carrying the poles as weapons.

While being escorted out of court, prison guards attempted to prevent Hay from speaking to reporters, before pushing him into the prison truck with such force that he hit his head inside the vehicle.

As the truck pulled away, Hay shouted to onlookers, “You see, this is how the authorities act. My sentences demonstrate the discrimination against Khmer Kampuchea Krom.”

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