Former RCAF Leader Convicted of Terrorism

A former Funcinpec resistance commander accused of being part of the anti-government “Khmer Serey” movement and arrested in February was convicted in military court Wednesday for planning terrorist activities against the government.

But the accused, Sok Vannak, was released from jail by court officials, who suspended the second six months of a one-year jail sentence after he confessed to commanding a force of about 200 rebels and purchasing munitions to damage government property.

“We have enough evidence to prove you were really involved in an action to destroy the government, but by your confession…we decided to reduce your punishment,” court judge Ney Thol said.

Sok Vannak was arrested with 18 pieces of dynamite and more than 100 detonators in Kompong Cham province and accused of being a terrorist linked with so-called Khmer Serey movement.

Though the government has generally denied the existence of the group, which reportedly has royalists ties, news of Khmer Serey (Free Khmer) has again emerged in Kratie province, where the military is accused of killing at least three men allegedly connected with the movement.

Local officials there say the Khmer Serey exists as a loosely-organized band throughout Snuol district, but the government continues to maintain the reported deaths in Kratie pro­vince are the result of gun fights between police and bandits.

Sok Vannak, an RCAF officer at the time of his arrest, admitted in court he was a member of Khmer Serey overseeing a force of men in Kompong Thom and Kompong Speu provinces.

Some rights workers and diplomatis have said the Khmer Serey is a CPP ploy to root out and ex­pose political opponents.



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