A commune chief in Kampong Cham province’s Cheung Prey district has filed a complaint with rights groups, claiming that commune police have targeted him on logging allegations because of his membership in the Sam Rainsy Party.
Neth Nao, Khnor Dambang commune chief, said district police have accused him of destroying flooded forests in the area and convinced local villagers to thumbprint a complaint against him. He wrote to rights groups Adhoc and Licadho for intervention on February 16, saying the complaints against him are politically motivated.
“The real reason they filed a complaint against me is because it’s a political threat and they want me to run away,” he said.
Khieu Vith, one of the villagers who thumb-printed the complaint, said he wished to withdraw his involvement because the district police misled him with the complaint’s contents.
“I agreed to put my thumbprint to file a complaint on people using illegal fishing,” he said. “If they took my thumbprint to file against a commune chief, I would like to withdraw it.”
Sek Savoeun, Khnor Dambang commune police chief, said he didn’t persuade any villagers to sign the complaint. “The commune chief destroyed wet forest land in the community.... so villagers and fisheries officers filed a complaint.”
Phuong Sothea, a provincial Adhoc monitor, said the rights group would visit Khnor Dambang to investigate the dispute.