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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Monk skips latest court date over funeral funds

Activist monk But Buntenh seen speaking at an event last year in a photo posted on his Facebook page.
Activist monk But Buntenh seen speaking at an event last year in a photo posted on his Facebook page. Facebook

Monk skips latest court date over funeral funds

Activist monk But Buntenh once again skipped his scheduled court questioning over accusations he misappropriated money from the funeral fund of the slain political analyst Kem Ley, taking to Facebook to blast Cambodia’s court system from abroad.

Buntenh was first summonsed for questioning along with labour rights advocate Moeun Tola and independent media advocate Pa Nguon Teang in September, and all three, like Ley himself, have been frequent government critics.

“The dollar-controlled court is a state institution which only serves individual interests,” Buntenh said in a Facebook video, speaking from America.

“I boycott the Cambodian court system . . . it is a waste of time.”

Cambodia Youth Party President Pich Sros first accused the trio of misappropriating funds meant to pay for the funeral stupa of Kem Ley, who was killed in an assassination widely believed to be politically motivated. Sros would later go on to file a complaint seeking the dissolution of the main opposition party, prompting suspicions of collusion with the ruling CPP, which he has denied.

Tola was questioned yesterday, while Nguon Teang has requested two delays. Buntenh has skipped both of his appointments without requesting a delay. Legal expert Sok Sam Oeun said Buntenh could now be arrested for his failure to honour the summonses.

Neither court spokesman Ly Sophana nor Judge Kuch Kim Long responded to requests for comment.

Additional reporting by Andrew Nachemson

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