Cambodian People’s Party lawmaker Bou Lam said yesterday a senior Ratanakkiri prison guard who was accused of facilitating a prison break will soon be released from jail due to his intervention, but the province’s top judge said the lawmaker was confused.
Kyal Pa Ngarng was charged on July 14 with helping five people escape from the provincial prison in May, where he had long served as the chief guard. He has since been kept in pre-trial detention in the prison of neighbouring Stung Treng province.
Lam, the sole lawmaker for Ratanakkiri, said that he had called court President Sous La to intervene to secure his release after 100 of Pa Ngarng’s fellow ethnic Kreung had submitted a petition saying the decision to charge him over the escape was an error.
“This was the fault of the court, so we asked the court to re-investigate the case [to see] if they made mistakes,” Lam said, explaining that the intervention was a success. “The president, Suos La, rang me today and told me the suspect would be released in the next four days.”
“The court re-investigated the case, and he is innocent – it was just someone accusing him.”
Lam also appeared in a video posted to the National Police’s Facebook page yesterday saying he had made the request in order to ensure his constituents continued to be satisfied with the CPP government.
In the video, Lam said that he intervened “to find justice to make the people happy with the leadership of the prime minister [Hun Sen], and with his leadership of the CPP."
“As a lawmaker, I have to help the ethnic minority to make them happy with my mandate,” he said.
La, the provincial court president, said that he had called the CPP lawmaker about his request for a release, but in fact had told him only he would ensure the case is expedited if he submitted a bail request.
“I can only push the judge to have a look at the case, or make the procedures go faster,” La said.
“He probably got confused. I told him he could make a request for bail, and then the judge would likely make a decision,” he explained. “He did not understand – the judge usually takes four or five days to decide on a case according to [legal] principles.”
Investigating Judge Chhuon Chan Seyha, who laid the charges against Pa Ngarng and refused him bail on July 14, could not be reached yesterday. Hak Hong, the prosecutor on the case, said only that bail requests were up to the judge on the case.
“I have no idea. A request for bail is up to the judge,” Hong said, declining to comment further.