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Muslims, police clash

MILITARY police clashed Wednesday with a group of about 40 Cambodian Cham Muslims outside the Takeo Provincial Court after a judge ordered the arrest of a Muslim community leader on disinformation charges.

Supporters of the suspect, Ny San, blocked police from entering the courthouse for two hours before finally being dispersed. Ny San was then taken to prison.

Ny San and Suth Sen, two prominent members of Borei Cholsa district’s Muslim community, were questioned by investigating judge Tit Sothy in connection with a complaint brought against them by Ry Mab, the formally recognised head of the Borei Cholsa Muslims.

Ry Mab’s lawsuit against the men stems from a failed 2008 attempt within the community to elect a new representative, Chheng Sophos, a senior investigator for the rights group Licadho, said.

Two Radio Free Asia reporters and two Cambodian Centre for Human Rights activists were also named in the case and were due for questioning today, but the arrest of Ny San has put the appearance of the four in doubt.

Chheng Sophos said, “I am so upset with [the judge’s] decision to hold the man in prison. This is a misdemeanor crime and not a felony crime.”
Licadho is now considering whether to provide Ny San and Suth Sen with lawyers, he added.

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