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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Russia pushes for fair trial in Polonsky case

Russia pushes for fair trial in Polonsky case

The Russian government yesterday called for a comprehensive and just investigation into the events that led to the arrest of property tycoon Sergei Polonsky and two fellow Russians last week.

Commenting on the seriousness of the charges of intentional violence and illegal detention against Polonsky, musician Alexander Karachinsky, 25, and Konstantin Baglay, 25, Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs released a statement saying it was seeking due process for the men.

“Given the gravity of accusations against the Russians detained in Cambodia, we believe a thorough and objective investigation is required,” a statement posted on its Twitter page yesterday said. “The Russian embassy in Cambodia is protecting the rights of detained Russian citizens.”

Two very different accounts have emerged on what led to the arrests on December 30.

A hire-boat crew has accused Polonsky of threatening one of them with a knife and locking him in a room before forcing them to jump overboard during a journey from Koh Rong, an island off the coast of Sihanoukville. Polonsky has said in statements his arrest was due to a misunderstanding over fireworks.

Pavel Seskanov, head of the consular section at the Russian Embassy, would not elaborate on the foreign ministry’s statement yesterday, but confirmed the three men had appointed a new lawyer.

Tan Nareth, deputy director of Preah Sihanouk provincial prison, said the lawyer had visited the three men in jail. Nareth said the lawyer came with a Russian man who is a son of the owner of Snake House Restaurant and Hotel, which is a contact point for bookings for Mirax Island Resort on Koh Dek Koule island.

Polonsky, whose Mirax Group ceased operations in 2011 – and is under investigation for its alleged debts – is the owner of its successor company, Potok, which advertises the resort.

A woman answering the phone at Snake House said the owner, Nikolai Doroshenko, was not available, and his son, Ostap, had gone to Thailand.

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