Siem Reap Province
A LAWYER and three villagers have been summoned to appear in Siem Reap provincial court today to answer charges that they insulted and illegally detained court officials during a protest in January, though one of the villagers said he would not attend out of fear that the court would make a move to arrest him.
The three villagers hail from Chi Kraeng commune, residents of which have been embroiled in a dispute over land that has also been claimed by residents of neighbouring Anlong Samnor district. The charges stem from a protest in late January, during which a group of more than 100 villagers allegedly locked court officials inside the courthouse for almost a full day.
Four men were charged with insult and illegal detention: Chheng Savoeun, a villager currently being held on separate charges of robbery and causing injury; Thorng Sareth and Khlin Eang, two other villagers; and Kao Soupha, their lawyer.
Thorng Sareth said Sunday that he would not appear at today’s hearing. “I will not go to the court because I am so concerned over the possibility of those officials’ arresting and detaining me,” he said. Khlin Eang and Kao Soupha could not be reached Sunday for comment.
Investigating Judge Sok Leang said Sunday that the insult complaint had been filed by Judge Nguon Nara, whereas the illegal detention complaint had been filed by prosecutor Ty Soveinthal.