Cheam Channy Denied Holiday Visitations

Military court officials in Phnom Penh made no special holiday ar­rangements for jailed Sam Rain­sy Party lawmaker Cheam Chan­ny over the weekend, though he was allowed to re­ceive visitors for an hour on Sa­tur­day as usual, an op­position party official said Mon­day.

The visitation hour was split be­tween Cheam Channy’s wife and senior opposition party member Mu Sochua, said Eng Chhay Eang, Sam Rainsy party sec­retary-General. Mu Sochua left Phnom Penh on Monday for the US, where she is expected to lob­by US lawmakers to push for Cheam Channy’s release.

A military court guard, who refused to be named, said Cheam Channy’s conditions in solitary confinement has improved, though Eng Chhay Eang said the parliamentarian has been losing weight and is troubled by insomnia and absentmindedness.

Eng Chhay Eang also complained that military prison guards listen to Cheam Channy’s conversations, which he called a “violation of personal rights.”

Investigating Judge Pok Porn said he is awaiting the results of a Supreme Court hearing relating to Cheam Chan­ny’s appeal to be released on bail.

The Appeals Court ruled last month to keep Cheam Channy in custody, saying he is accused of a crime that affects national security.

Cheam Channy was arrested Feb 3, shortly after the National As­sembly voted to revoke the par­liamentary immunity granted to him and his fellow lawmakers Sam Rainsy and Chea Poch.

Both opposition leader Sam Rainsy and Chea Poch have since fled the country.

Cheam Channy is accused of forming a so-called illegal armed force. Sam Rainsy Party officials coun­ter that he was simply in charge of monitoring RCAF activities.

Mao Sophearith, Cheam Chan­ny’s attorney, said Monday that the state’s case rests on the testimony of two men who claim they are part of the alleged illegal militia. The lawyer questioned why the two have not been arrested.

“If Cheam Channy gave an or­der, who carried it out?” he said.

(Additional reporting by Karen Hawkins)


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