FBI Preparing for Case Against Outlawed Leader

US Justice Department officials are in Cambodia taking depositions from potential witnesses for the prosecution in the US of Ch­hun Yasith, leader of the outlaw­ed Cam­bodian Freedom Fight­­ers, a US Em­­bassy spoke­sman con­firmed Wednesday.

An Interior Ministry official familiar with the case who re­quested anonymity had earlier said that two US Federal Bureau of Investigation officials were questioning jailed Cambodian-American CFF members Richard Kiri Kim and Gilbert Sao Chum over the case.

Richard Kiri Kim is serving a life sentence for his role in the attack, while Gilbert Sao Chum is serving 10 years for membership in the anti-government group.

The FBI is part of the US Jus­tice Department.

The official said the FBI would be questioning the men at the Mun­icipal Anti-Drug Depart­ment.

Reporters saw two Cambodian men being taken away in shackles and prison jump suits from the department on Wednesday afternoon. Several Westerners were later seen leaving the de­part­ment.

Moek Dara, director of the de­partment, said that foreigners had used his office, although he said he didn’t know what they talked about and declined to comment when asked who they were.

“I just provide them my office be­cause it is quiet,” he said. “I don’t know what they are talking about. They don’t allow me in.”

Interior Ministry spokesman Khieu Sopheak could not be reached for comment Wednes­day evening, and government spokes­man Khieu Kanharith said he didn’t know about the matter.

Chhun Yasith was indicted in June by a federal grand jury in Los Angeles on charges of conspiracy to kill in a foreign country, con­spiracy to destroy property in a foreign country and engaging in a military expedition in a friendly country.

He also faces charges of running a fraudulent tax preparation business in the US. If convicted, he faces the possibility of life in prison without parole. The US State Depart­ment lists the CFF as a terrorist group.

During the CFF attack in No­vem­ber 2000, 60 men launch­ed a muddled attack on several government buildings Phnom Penh. Se­veral were killed and dozens in­jured as government security forces easily overwhelmed the at­tackers.

 

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