From detention at National Military Police Headquarters, opposition lawmaker Cheam Channy issued a complaint against his captors, alleging that his confinement is illegal.
In his complaint, addressed to the Military Court’s Prosecution Department and dated Feb 15, Cheam Channy said he is claiming $200,000 in damages for the loss of his “liberty, freedom and dignity.”
“I never was nor am I now a member of the Cambodian National Armed Forces and thus the Military Court and its members do not have power or jurisdiction over me,” Cheam Channy wrote in a copy of the complaint received Thursday.
Implicated in the complaint are Military Court Prosecutor Lieutenant General Prum Sonthon, Lieutenant Colonel Sok Sant of the Military Police and all of the officers involved in Cheam Channy’s Feb 3 arrest, as well as Pok Pon, the military court’s investigating judge.
Cheam Channy was stripped of his parliamentary immunity the day of his arrest, along with opposition leader Sam Rainsy and fellow lawmaker Chea Poch.
He is accused of forming an illegal armed force.
In his statement, Cheam Channy maintained that he was merely heading a “shadow cabinet,” named “Committee 14” to oversee the work of the Ministry of Defense.
“The Committee 14 is NOT an ARMED force because there were not and are not currently any arms/weapons,” he said.
Pok Pon on Thursday defended Cheam Channy’s detention, saying it was legal. “We have hard evidence to prove Cheam Channy organized an army,” he said. “Even though they do not have weapons, organizing an army means they organized an armed force.”
Prosecutor Prum Sonthon echoed Pok Pon’s comments, adding: “The offender and his lawyers always [say] they did nothing.”