CFF President Says Trial is a Political Game

The trial of 28 suspected members of the Cambodian Freedom Fighters is going to be used as a ploy to deflect attention from the stalled law to try former Khmer Rouge leaders, according to CFF president Chhun Yasith.

“[The] CFF trial…is just a game of politics to cover the Khmer Rouge trial and will be used as an excuse to delay time and [the tribunal] will fade away,” Chhun Yasith said in an e-mail interview from Long Beach in the US state of California.

The first trial of CFF suspects starts today in Supreme Court and is expected to last five days, a long time for a Cambodian trial.

The suspects are charged with terrorism and membership in an illegal armed force. They were arrested after a Nov 24 attack on government offices that left as many as eight dead. The CFF is based in Long Beach and its aim is to overthrow Prime Minister Hun Sen’s government.

Richard Kiri Kim, who confessed to leading the attack, is the only Cambodian-American in custody. Chhun Yasith and former CFF executive board member Thong Samien will be tried in absentia.

Chhun Yasith said the CFF is continuing its activities and held a fund-raiser in May. He said more than 470 CFF representatives and supporters from the US attended.

Chhun Yasith said he does not believe CFF suspects can receive a fair trial in Cambodia because the court will turn it into a “game of political twisting into whatever they want without a sense of the judicial process.”

“The communist government ruled by former Khmer Rouge leader can never conduct a just trial,” Chhun Yasith said. “The CFF believes in only the laws created from pure democracy where the power of the people is respected and counted.”


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