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‘Terrorism’ case sees two tried in absentia

‘Terrorism’ case sees two tried in absentia

The Phnom Penh Court yesterday tried in absentia two men connected to a controversial five-year-old terrorism case, for which three men have already been jailed on tenuous evidence for threatening to bomb the US, UK and Australian embassies.

Currently “on the run”, according to a lawyer in the case, Burmese nationals Dil Mohammad, 35, and Abdul Kalip, 36, are accused under Article 29 and 30 of Cambodia’s Anti-terror Law, relating to attacks on foreign state representatives, prosecutor Srey Makny told the court.

He said the pair was connected with Bangladeshi man Miah Muhammed Huymayan Kabir, one of three men sentenced to eight years in prison in 2011 over the case, which centres on threatening letters sent to the embassies.

The other two in jail are Bangladeshi nationals Rafiqul Eslami and Nepalese man DP Paudel.

Signatures purported to be theirs were on the letters, which said the men belonged to al-Qaeda in Southeast Asia.

But the trio has vehemently denied any involvement. Their conviction was widely criticised given scant evidence, and the credibility of the letter featuring their signatures has been repeatedly called into question.

Mohammad, named in the letter and initially held by police, denies any involvement, according to his police statement, read to the court.

Kalip also denied any part in a terrorist plot. According to his statement, he suggested Dil Mohammad “invented” the letter after a dispute. A verdict is due on April 5.

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