After three days of questioning opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party members accused of attacking security guards at a protest near Phnom Penh’s Freedom Park in July, court officials were yesterday no closer to extracting confessions.
Khin Chamroeun, 32, San Kimheng, 32, and Neang Sokhun, 28, were all arrested on August 2 and detained for 20 days in the capital’s Prey Sar prison before being released on bail.
The trio was arrested for alleged involvement in violence against security forces during an opposition-led protest to “free Freedom Park”, which had been in lockdown for more than half a year.
The July 15 protest, which began peacefully, ended in violence when the crowd responded to baton-wielding security guards’ aggressive attempts to disperse them with brutal mob beatings.
Sokhun, who is charged with joining a riot and intentional violence with aggravating circumstances, told the Post that despite months having passed since his arrest, authorities are yet to compile any credible evidence against him.
“The judge just asked me whether I used a pipe to hit the security guards and whose pipe it was.… I said I do not know at all,” he said of his questioning at Phnom Penh Municipal Court yesterday. “On that day [July 15], I went to take pictures of the demonstration for public broadcast,” Sokhun added, urging the court to drop the charges against him.
Chamroeun, who is charged with leading a riot, opposing public servants and intentional violence with aggravating circumstances, said his questioning on Tuesday also presented a lack of any evidence.
“I have been apprehended without any evidence or proof that I committed [any crime] at all,” he said.
Another CNRP member, 48-year-old Sum Puthy, was arrested on Monday over his alleged role in the attacks.
Puthy’s lawyer, San Soudalen, who visited him in Prey Sar yesterday, said she planned to file a bail request.