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Trio of Moek Dara cases heard

Trio of Moek Dara cases heard

Former anti-drug czar Moek Dara, centre, is escorted by police at Banteay Meanchey provincial court last month.

Closing statements concluded yesterday in three of the 32 cases against former anti-drug czar Moek Dara, the one-time secretary-general of the National Authority for Combating Drugs, and Chea Leng, former chief of the Anti-Drug Office at the Ministry of Interior, who are accused of taking bribes and trafficking drugs as part of a larger drug racket.

Phann Vanarath, the deputy provincial prosecutor in Banteay Meanchey Provincial Court, said cases 2, 3 and 4 had finished being heard and the rest were due to be finished by Friday.

“We still uphold our charge, because we have enough evidence and witnesses to say that [Moek Dara] is guilty,” he said.    

Nop Vireak, a Cambodian Center for Human Rights monitor who attended court yesterday, said that in Case 4, a witness said he had given a bribe of $20,000 to Moek Dara.

Convicted drug trafficker Hak Eang, whose house in Chroy Changva, Russei Keo district, provided the setting for a deal involving the accused in 2007, prosecutors allege, said he had given Moek Dara $30,000.

Moek Dara was heard to say that the witnesses who had taken the stand to accuse him had been put up to it, Nop Vireak said.

“Some of the witnesses are prisoners, so they got pressure to accuse me, and I ask the court to let me reply back to the witnesses. I hope the court will provide justice for me,” Moek Dara said.

Nop Vireak said Ka Savuth, lawyer for Moek Dara, questioned why the court had not taken action against the witnesses who testified against Moek Dara and in the process admitted their own involvement in dealing drugs.

“There is no evidence that my client was corrupt,” he said.

Moek Dara and Chea Leng were arrested in January this year, reportedly after being implicated by Hun Hean and Chheang Sun.

A verdict is expected about a month from Friday.