The Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Tuesday questioned activist monk Keo Somaly, who is accused of beating a fellow monk at the city’s Wat Neakavorn pagoda last month.
The alleged victim, Long Chheng Hy, says the monk punched and kicked him on November 13, a claim Keo Somaly denies. About 200 supporters of Keo Somaly, who has yet to be charged, gathered outside the courthouse to protest the investigation.
“The deputy prosecutor has not charged me yet and explained the accusation that I used violence against Long Chheng Hy, and I said that I did not use violence against Long Chheng Hy but [that] he used violence against [me],” he told reporters. Court clerk Phorn Sotherith confirmed that Keo Somaly was questioned and said the court would also summon witnesses in the case.
Keo Somaly is a member of the Independent Monk Network for Social Justice, a group of monks who regularly protest against the government’s alleged human rights abuses, and says the court is targeting him because of his activism.