Court grills arrested monk over 2nd case

Court grills arrested monk over 2nd case

A former monk, who is currently serving a year’s prison sentence for obstructing public officials, was questioned yesterday over his alleged involvement in a separate case that happened after his arrest, according to rights group Licadho.

Twenty-eight-year-old Soeun Hay was arrested in early November while protesting outside the high-profile court case of seven Boeung Kak land activists. His sentencing the next day, alongside three female activists, was widely condemned by rights groups and analysts.

A day after Hay’s arrest, two other young monks, Khith Vannak and Sang Kosal, were arrested for allegedly taking bamboo poles to the Samaki Rainsy pagoda, where a group of land-eviction protesters was staying. They were later charged with “participation in criminal association”.

Am Sam Ath, senior investigator for Licadho, said that Hay has now been implicated in the second case, and was summonsed for questioning yesterday at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court by investigating judge Nou Veasna.

“They [Vannak and Kosal] implicated him [by saying] that the bamboo sticks were transported from the room of Soeun Hay . . . so the court invited him for questioning,” he said.

Sam Ath added that Licadho would provide Hay with a lawyer.

When Hay left the courtroom yesterday morning, police prevented journalists from speaking to him. But the monk shouted “damn unfair”, before being taken away.

Veasna, the investigating judge, hung up the phone on a reporter yesterday when contacted about the case.

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