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‘Coup inciter’ was in my unit, says army brass

Som Sovanara, who the government accuses of attempting to incite a coup, is shown in a screengrab from a videotaped message. Facebook
Som Sovanara, who the government accuses of attempting to incite a coup, is shown in a screengrab from a videotaped message. Facebook

‘Coup inciter’ was in my unit, says army brass

The Ministry of Defence and Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF) have offered conflicting accounts as to whether a Cambodian living in Canada, Som Sovanara, who allegedly called for a coup on YouTube, ever served in the Cambodian military.

Defence Ministry spokesman Chhum Socheat said the RCAF had searched through its rosters but found no trace of Sovanara, who sent an image of what he said was his army ID card to a Post reporter yesterday.

“His name wasn’t on the list of 100,000 soldiers . . . He faked it in order to cause chaos,” Socheat said. “I am checking on this issue of where he got the documents from.”

However, Lieutenant General Srey Deuk, commander of RCAF Intervention Division Three, yesterday said he took Sovanara on as a soldier for less than half a year in late 2011 to make use of his computer skills.

However, Deuk said Sovanara had never signed a contract.

Sovanara told the Post last week that he was granted asylum by Canada in 2013. However, Socheat said the Defence Ministry was optimistic Sovanara would be apprehended.

“We have many procedures [available to us]. His home was here, his relatives live here. He flew away, but he left his nest. We have our ways and we are working on it,” Socheat said. “If we did not have hope, we would not do this.”

Phnom Penh Municipal Court administrator Y Rin said yesterday that a prosecutor had been assigned to Sovanara’s case but denied knowing any further details. Court spokesman Ly Sophana could not be reached for comment.

In a message yesterday, Sovanara said he was not worried about getting arrested, but would not surrender.

“If the courts had independence and justice I would come to answer at the court,” he said.

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