Biofuel Case Delayed Over Toothache, Headache

The drawn-out trial of five men connected to a failed biofuel venture in Banteay Meanchey province was delayed at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court yet again Wednesday—with the chief defendant, Brit­ish entrepreneur Gregg Fryett, ap­parently too ill to face the court.

“Gregg Thomas Fryett has submitted a letter asking to delay the trial for three weeks because he has a serious toothache and headache,” Presiding Judge Chuon Sokreasey told the court.

Prosecutor Ly Sopha­na approved the request.

The de­fendants stand accused of creating and using fake documents to purchase land in Svay Chek district’s Slakram commune and then illegally clearing the land to plant jatropha trees.

Former provincial governor Oung Oeun has said that the men were set up by a trio of powerful officials, including disgraced former municipal court director Ang Mea­laktei.

Outside the courtroom Wednesday, Cambodian-American Soeun Denny, an employee of Mr. Fryett, said that during three years in pris­on, he had received little assistance from the U.S. Embassy.

“All the evidence showing we are innocent ex­ists. Is the U.S. Embassy even paying attention?” he said.

An em­bassy spokesman declined to comment.

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