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Sia Phearum, executive director of Housing Rights Task Force, speaks during an annual meeting in Phnom Penh in 2015. Photo supplied
Sia Phearum, executive director of Housing Rights Task Force, speaks during an annual meeting in Phnom Penh in 2015. Photo supplied

Rights worker accused of falsifying document

The Kampong Speu Provincial Court is investigating allegations that Housing Rights Task Force executive director Sia Phearum falsified land titles for a plot he claims to have inherited from his aunt earlier this year.

The accusation was brought by Nuon Phally of Kong Pisei district’s Chong Rok commune. She claims that she borrowed 20 million riel (about $5,000) from Phearum’s aunt, Khem Sokhim, in 2002, handing over her land titles as collateral. She said that about 10 years ago, she paid off the debt, but Sokhim refused to return the land titles to her.

“I never sold to anyone; I have the village chief and commune chief as my witness,” Phally said.

Neither could be reached to verify the claims, but Phearum yesterday insisted that the land belongs to him.

He said that Phally asked his wife recently whether she would be interested in selling the plot to an unnamed wealthy man. It was when his wife declined that the legal threats started, he said.

“She has no ability to hire a lawyer but has someone behind her, a rich man,” Phearum said.

Phearum also claimed that provincial prosecutor Keo Sothea filed a request with the court on November 4 that he be detained pending the completion of the court’s investigation, a claim Sothea denied yesterday.

Asked for proof of the request, Phearum directed enquiries to his lawyer, who hung up on a reporter.

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