Freedom Fighters’ Detention Extended Beyond Sentences

Five men imprisoned for their involvement with the Cambodian Freedom Fighters will continue to be detained past their three-year sentences, which the men have completed, Prey Sar prison director Kim Sarin said Thursday.

The Appeals Court issued an order to Kim Sarin at the end of November which asked for the men’s continued detention as the court decides on their appeal, the prison director said.

“I received a letter from the Appeals Court about a month ago and it told me not to release the five CFF prisoners, waiting the Appeals Court’s decision,” Kim Sarin said.

The five men—Sok Seangly, Chey Vandy, Roth Sean, Tes Sa­rin and Vieng Chim—have been detained since Dec 5, 2000 for their involvement in the Novem­ber 2000 attack on government buildings in Phnom Penh that left at least four dead.

They were charged with conspiracy or membership in an illegal armed group. Among 30 suspected CFF members, the five men were tried and sentenced in June 2001 by the Phnom Penh Municipal Court. They filed an appeal against the decision immediately after their trial, which was countered by an appeal by the prosecutor.

As their Dec 5 release date ap­proached, Kim Sarin in Novem­ber had warned the men would not be released unless they agreed to drop their complaints to the Ap­peals Court.

“I have no right to release them. My duty is only to watch prisoners and not to make decisions for their release,” Kim Sarin said Thursday. He added that he had advised the prisoners’ families to seek intervention from a lawyer.

Ly Vouch Leng, the Appeals Court president, said Thursday she did not know whether the court had plans to retry the five men, adding that she was not re­sponsible for the case.

But a court official, who spoke on condition of anonymity Thurs­day, said the Appeals Court would hold a hearing for them. The official did not disclose a trial date.

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