Adhoc official to be questioned over alleged illegal police search

Ratanakkiri Provincial Court has summoned a human rights worker for questioning over his complaint that two police officers illegally raided his home without a warrant in December 2008 while he was at a protest, deputy prosecutor Ros Saram said.

Adhoc investigator Chhay Thy is to appear in court July 20, 19 months after Banlung City deputy police chiefs Puth Savy and Ma Buntung allegedly searched his home, said Mr Saram.

He said that the two officers were questioned in March and Mr Thy had missed a court date in June.

“Sooner or later we will summon the alleged housing abusers to be questioned once again,” he said. “Now we need to question the complainant before that in order to give him the chance to prove the evidence to support the accusation against the two cops.”

Mr Thy said yesterday that he had never received the first summons, but looked forward to his court date to discuss the raid, which took place while he, his wife and 300 indigenous villagers protested against illegal logging and land grabbing.

“Both cops went into my house while myself and my wife were not at home,” he said. “At that time, my home accommodated roughly 60 community people who planned to take part in the march.”

“I just want them to be prosecuted for such illegal activities,” he said of the police.

While Mr Savy could not be reached for comment, Mr Buntung said that he and his colleague did not raid the home but merely stopped by the house to ask for a glass of water from Mr Thy’s son and “to keep good security for the parked motorbikes belonging to communities who were busy at the march.”

Pen Bonnar, the provincial coordinator for the human rights group Adhoc, welcomed the summons, saying Ratanakkiri Provincial Court had acted on only seven out of approximately 100 complaints filed by Adhoc since 2008.

“The court’s progress in taking legal measures with our intervention letters as well as our complaints is too slow,” he said. “Especially lawsuits against powerful officials involved in illegal logging and deforestation for land encroachment have yet to be taken.”

Mr Saram, the deputy prosecutor, denied those claims, saying that only a total of 30 cases filed with the court have not been acted on.

“Such claims that we are too slow in taking into legal procedure are not acceptable,” he said.


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