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‘Mentally ill’ man faces logging charge

A Kratie man, detained since February following allegations of clearing a rubber firm’s land to grow cassava, has been charged with illegal logging despite his family’s insistence that he is mentally ill.

Provincial deputy prosecutor Hak Hoan yesterday confirmed the charge against 61-year-old Rim Duy, adding that it related to a breach of the Forestry Law rather than a property violation against the Memot Rubber Plantation Company.

Rights group Adhoc yesterday continued to insist that Duy should not be in prison, saying all he did was farm cassava on his own land, which is adjacent to the plantation.

Adhoc added that it has a medical certificate and a statement from Duy’s family and a village chief that Duy is mentally ill and unfit to stand trial. “If the court knows that he has a mental illness and still detains him, it’s an illegal procedure,” said Adhoc coordinator Hean Chea Vikun.

Duy was arrested on February 10 after company security guards accused him of trespassing and clearing their land.

A company representative speaking on condition of anonymity after the arrest said the firm has had repeated dealings with Duy over clearing company land and does not believe he is mentally ill.

Deputy prosecutor Hoan said that he had not seen any documented evidence of Duy’s alleged condition.

“If they have documents related to a medical certificate from the hospital, I will not charge him anymore, but until now, I didn’t get anything,” he said. “I don’t know what the investigating judge will do next.”

Memot Rubber didn’t return calls yesterday.

Additional reporting by Igor Kossov

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