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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - SRP activist: 'Get me out of Cambodia'

SRP activist: 'Get me out of Cambodia'

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SRP activist Kung Bun Heang and wife, shortly after his release from prison March 6, 2000.

Sam Rainsy Party activist Kung Bun Heang has made a moving appeal for international

assistance to protect both him and his family from possible "reprisals"

following his release on March 6 from Phnom Penh's Military Prison.

Bun Heang and fellow SRP detainee Mong Davuth had been held virtually incommunicado

since their Sep 1999 arrests in connection with a Sep 1998 Siem Reap B40-rocket attack

on a motorcade of government officials including Prime Minister Hun Sen.

CPP officials have consistently described the incident as an assassination attempt

orchestrated by Rainsy.

Bun Heang's arrest was widely criticized by human rights groups at the time due to

the fact that he was in prison in Battambang on a separate weapons charge at the

time of the attack.

Interviewed on March 9 just hours before going into hiding with his family, a frail

and nervous Bun Heang reiterated his claims of innocence.

"This is a letter from the court in Battambang verifying I was in prison in

Battambang at the time," he told the Post . "It's impossible that I could

have been involved with the rocket attack."

According to Bun Heang, during each of the three interrogation sessions he faced

over his six months imprisonment, representatives of Military Intelligence Research

Unit Director Mol Roeup offered him bribes in the amount of 22 damleung of gold (worth

approximately US$7,000) in return for agreeing to publicly admit that Rainsy had

ordered the attack.

"After they made the offer, I was told the government would guarantee my safety

if I said the incident was caused by Rainsy," he said. "I told them that

this wasn't fair, that I wouldn't cooperate even if it was for a lot of money."

Public statements by Military Intelligence Research Unit Deputy Director Hour Sareth

that Bun Heang and Davuth remained suspects in the case have made Bun Heang anxious

about his future.

"When I left the prison, they told me 'Be careful'," Bun Heang said. "I

live in fear. ... I can't go back to Battambang because it's not safe.... [The government]

can kill people easily, they are very cruel," he said.

Bun Heang appealed for international assistance to assure his and his family's safety.

"I request that any international persons or organizations that can help get

me out of Cambodia to please do so, for mine and my family's safety," he said.

"Even here, in the middle of the Sam Rainsy Party headquarters, it's not safe

for me."

Attempts by the Post to contact Hour Sareth regarding Bun Heang's allegations were

unsuccessful.

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