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Protestors, police both charged in Poipet case

Protestors, police both charged in Poipet case

The judge leading the investigation into the deaths of six protestors killed during

a March 21 standoff in Poipet has said little publicly about the case, but according

to a lawyer familiar with the investigation, more than 100 charges have already been

filed.

Nil Non, investigating judge and chief of the Battambang provincial court, said the

investigation was moving slowly and there was still much more work to be done.

Non said he had interview many people about the shooting, but he declined to comment

on what, if any, charges are expected.

However, Nuon Sokchea, a lawyer for Adhoc who has followed the case, said that the

court in June called 119 villagers and police officers to the court for questioning.

As a result, 60 police officers have been charged with attempted murder and about

50 villagers have been charged with attempted battery, Sokchea said.

Although charges have been filed, no new arrests have been made, said Sokchea.

The only people who have been arrested so far are two policemen, one military police

officer and one soldier. The four were arrested just days after the shooting and

continue to be detained at the Battambang provincial prison.

Chan Savath, the Banteay Meanchey provincial court clerk who led the failed forced

eviction, was called for questioning, but no charges were made against him, according

to Sokchea

On March 21, more than 100 police and military police officers tried to evict 218

families from a disputed four-hectare plot of land in Kbal Spean village, near Poipet

in Banteay Meanchey province.

The tense standoff ended when police fired into the crowd of demonstrators, killing

six people and injuring three others.

Sok Sareth, Banteay Meanchey deputy governor, said that the provincial authority

has arranged a plot of land near the disputed area for the displaced villagers, but

he is waiting on the court's decision before giving villagers an official title to

the land.

Keo Sen, governor of O'chrov district, said each family will receive a plot of land

approximately 8 by 20 meters.

Sen said that some of the villagers do not want to go to the new site because it

is four kilometers from the disputed land.

"We are thinking to find the best solution to move them to the new area,"

Sen said.

Kek Galabru, president of the local human rights group Licadho, said she hopes the

government will allow the people to live on the same land as before, saying that

if villagers are forced to move, it will cause them undue hardship.

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