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Two new Chi Kraeng trials

Siem Reap province
SIEM Reap provincial court has scheduled two new hearings in cases stemming from an ongoing land dispute in Chi Kraeng district, according to letters obtained yesterday.

On Friday, Chheng Savoeun, one of 12 jailed villagers from Chi Kraeng commune, will stand trial on an array of charges, including destruction of private property, related to a November 2008 altercation with residents of neighbouring Anlong Samnor commune.

He and Khlin Eang will then appear before the court on August 17 for a hearing about a January 2009 protest that saw villagers briefly lock lawyers and judges inside the provincial courthouse. They have both been charged with incitement and illegal human detention, among other crimes.

Both cases stem from a land dispute dating back to 1986, when one large village was divided equally between Chi Kraeng and Anlong Samnor communes, leaving an unspecified amount of farmland in dispute.

In January 2009, the provincial court ruled that all of the disputed land belonged to Anlong Samnor, triggering conflicts between villagers from the two communes.

Deputy prosecutor Heng Pheng said yesterday that he believed other jailed villagers would also be called to court on August 17, but couldn’t remember their names.

“I can’t remember all of this because there are a lot of cases,” he said.

On Monday, the provincial court concluded hearings in a case concerning a March 2009 altercation that saw military police open fire on residents of Chi Kraeng.

Four villagers were reported injured, but no military police officers have been charged.

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