Two Russians accused of violence toward six boatmen at sea last month appeared for questioning at the Preah Sihanouk Provincial Court yesterday, despite their written request to be interrogated only with their co-accused, businessman Sergei Polonsky.
Konstantin Baglay and Alexander Karachinsky, both 25, appeared without their fellow countryman to explain the events that led to their December 31 arrest on charges of intentional violence and illegal detention.
Tel Samith, a translator for the Russians, said the men’s court appearance had been hampered by interruptions but refused to elaborate further.
“I cannot say anything about this. Please ask the investigating judge,” he said.
Prior to the court session, the three Russians had written a letter to court president Mong Monichakriya asking for joint hearings.
“We request all hearings and questionings of us to be conducted for all of us, not separately, in the presence of our Khmer lawyer,” the letter says.
Long Saluxe, a Cambodian lawyer appointed by the three defendants on Monday, could not be reached yesterday.
Polonsky, Baglay and Karachinsky have been accused of threatening a boatman with a knife, then locking him in a room and forcing him and five fellow crew members to jump overboard off Sihanoukville.
The six boatmen, employees of Polonsky’s business partner at the Snake House Restaurant and Hotel, agreed earlier this month to drop their complaints in exchange for $20,000, but the charges remain.
In an open letter to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov sent January 26, Polonsky said his requests for medical assistance had been ignored.
In statements released yesterday, Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said all Russian prisoners in Cambodia had access to professional medical services.
“[The] head of the [Russian Foreign] Embassy’s consular department has been visiting S. Polonsky and others in prison regularly since [January 1 and has] heard no complaints,” a tweet said.
To contact the reporters on this story:
Cheang Sokha at [email protected]
Shane Worrell at [email protected]