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Royal statements

O N July 2, King Norodom Sihanouk issued a letter to the government requesting

the release of Gavin Scott from T3 Prison.

The King wrote that while

waiting for formal proof of any crimes committed, "I think it is in the

interests of Cambodia to release Dr Gavin Scott, who has rendered services to

our nation in the domain of public health."

The King referred to

Australian, British and French citizens who had been killed by Khmer Rouge

soldiers who remained unpunished.

He said that Scott's crime, "if there

is a 'crime', is far from comparable to the horrible crimes of certain Khmer

Rouge..."

Four days later, the King retracted his statement in a second

letter which said he had asked the government to consider his initial request

"null and void".

The King said he had received some letters of protest

against his earlier statement, and specifically referred to an NGO worker

involved in investigating Scott's case.

Meanwhile on July 4, in between

the King's statements, First Prime Minister Prince Norodom Ranariddh also

publicly referred to the Scott case.

Prince Ranariddh said the King could

grant amnesty to Scott or let him out of the country, but the government "cannot

make any decision".

The Prince said it was up to the courts to "judge

according to the guilt".

"If the courts establish adequate proof, he must

be prosecuted and, in my opinion, made an example of. This kind of guilt, in my

view, must be severely punished."

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