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Calls for release of Chi Kraeng villagers

Calls for release of Chi Kraeng villagers

SIEM REAP PROVINCE
FOUR lawmakers and about 250 villagers gathered in Chi Kraeng commune Wednesday to protest the continued detention of nine men, seven of whom were acquitted two months ago in connection with an altercation stemming from an ongoing land dispute.

Sam Rainsy Party lawmaker Kim Souphirith said at the public forum that he would not stop pressing for an investigation into the actions of law enforcement officials during the March 22 incident, in which 100 armed police opened fire on 80 villagers caught harvesting crops on land that Siem Reap Governor Sou Phirin had previously ruled belong to families from Anlong Samnor.

He also suggested that corruption on the part of court officials could be thwarting any attempts at an investigation, a claim that was echoed by many villagers in attendance.

Provincial court prosecutor Ty Soveinthal flatly denied the corruption charges, and he said that the nine men were being held on separate but related attempted murder charges.

Investigating deputy prosecutor Heng Peng said an investigation was ongoing.

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