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NGO hot seat: DARPO duo questioned over abuses

Two former staff members of the much-maligned and now defunct NGO Drugs and AIDS Research and Prevention Organisation (DARPO) appeared before the Preah Vihear provincial court yesterday for questioning in connection with several human-rights abuses, including rape.

Last month, four former employees of the NGO were summonsed to appear before the court after 54-year-old Khin Khun of Choam Ksan district alleged they had beaten her, causing serious injury, and raped her 13-year-old daughter in July, 2010.

Provincial court judge Saso Savuth said yesterday only two of the four men summonsed to the court had shown up for questioning, but failed to provide any further details about the court proceedings or if the remaining two men would ever be forced to appear before the court.

“Only two of them appeared in court, but please don’t worry about this case; we are working on it,” the judge said.

Lor Chann, provincial co-ordinator for the rights group Adhoc, identified the two men who appeared at the court for questioning as Yeng Vanny and Thi Thuon, adding that they had been released after questioning.

“They claimed they knew nothing about the accusations,” Lor Chann said.

DARPO was granted more than 500 hectares of land in 2007, with instructions to distribute it to families in need.

Adhoc claims that the NGO instead charged villagers for plots of land, leading it to eventually file for bankruptcy and disband.

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