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.