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Protest, not shooting, police’s focus

Three female garment workers on Friday answered a Svay Rieng provincial judge’s summons to discuss their lawsuits against the man who allegedly shot them, former Bavet town governor Chhouk Bandith ,but the judge turned out to not be the one asking the questions.

Nuth Bopinaroath, a coordinator for human rights group Licadho, said the three garment workers – Nuth Sakhorn, Buot Chenda and Keo Neang – were questioned by the police, not the investigating judge, for a period of two hours at a time.

The lawsuits stem from a February 20 protest involving more than 6,000 workers from the Kaoway Sports factory. Bandith allegedly shot into the crowd and hit the women. They are demanding $45,000 each in compensation.

“According to the victims’ answers, during their appearance at the provincial court on Friday, they were not asked for their explanations about the lawsuits against Chhouk Bandith, but instead, they were merely interviewed about what happened at the factory, and their protest against the factory,” he said.

“I think that the reason why they have asked the victims only about the reason of the garment workers’ protest is because they want to reduce Chhouk Bandith’s burden [charges],” he added.

Pech Chhoeut, president of Svay Rieng provincial court, could not be reached for comment yesterday.

After the protest, Bandith was charged with causing unintentional injuries and transferred to a lesser post. He has not served any time in jail and is living in Svay Rieng.

To contact the reporter on this story: Buth Reaksmey Kongkea at reaksmeykongkea.buth@phnompenhpost.com

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