Three ethnic Khmer Krom arrested Saturday for allegedly distributing anti-Hun Sen leaflets are now imprisoned in pre-trial detention, officials said.
Thach Samnang, 46, Thach Ngoc Seoung, 41, and female suspect Tri Non, 44, allegedly called for the arrest of Prime Minister Hun Sen in the leaflets and accused him of leading the country into ruin.
They were ordered detained in Prey Sar prison Wednesday, said Ngeth Sarath, Phnom Penh Municipal Court deputy prosecutor.
Police picked the three suspects up in Banteay Meanchey province and Phnom Penh following the most recent distribution of anti-Hun Sen leaflets in Dangkao district late last month. Hundreds of anti-Hun Sen tracts have been scattered in Phnom Penh, Takeo and Pursat province since the beginning of this year.
Thach Sitha, a prominent Khmer Krom and former SRP senator, said that the three were innocent and that police had no evidence to link them to the leaflets.
Son Yoeung, director of the Khmer Kampuchea Krom for Human Rights and Development, called for the immediate release of the suspects, saying the Khmer Krom had no beef with Hun Sen.
“On behalf of the Khmer Krom association, we appeal to the government to free them because they are innocent,” Son Yoeung said.
“They have no reason to be against the prime minister. The Khmer Krom are only against the Vietnamese government because they mistreat us,” Thach Setha said.
Interior Ministry spokesman Khieu Sopheak said that distributing anti-Hun Sen leaflets was outlawed and that free expression should be channeled through the country’s newspapers.
“We do not permit [leaflets],” Khieu Sopheak said.