Fugitive Slayer of Opposition Activist Arrested

Battambang provincial police last Saturday apprehended Abdul Karim, who was sentenced in absentia to 15 years imprisonment in 2002 for killing a Sam Rainsy Party activist, said Nil Noun, a Bat­tambang provincial court judge.

A Sam Rainsy Party statement said Abdul Karim—a member of Military Intelligence Section Q101—has confessed to killing Sam Sophea of Svay Por commune, Battambang district, in November 2001. “[Today] we will know clearly if [Abdul Karim] will demand an appeal, but now we are through with investigating and sentencing him. We just sent him to prison because we have already sentenced him with his four colleagues, the hit men,” Nil Noun said.

A Battambang opposition activist, Thach Phoung, also was linked to the murder of Sam So­phea. Thach Phoung was sentenced in 2002 to five years in prison after Abdul Karim and his four confederates accused him of hiring them to kill his party mate.

According to the Sam Rainsy Party statement, Abdul Karim is now attempting to implicate an­other opposition activist, Duong Chheat, in Sam Sophea’s murder. “The allegation by Abdul Karim is a dirty political ploy fabricated by Hun Sen’s henchmen of CPP aimed at destroying SRP and democracy in Cambodia,” the statement reads.

Nil Noun said the court already has dismissed Abdul Karim’s charges against Duong Chheat.

The opposition’s statement also urged that the case of Thach Phoung be reviewed.

The Sam Rainsy Party has often referred to Abdul Karim as a ruling party spy who infiltrated their ranks before the 1998 general election and fingered Sok Yoeun, Kang Bun Heang and Mong Davuth—all Sam Rainsy activists—for the rocket attack in Siem Reap that the prime minister called an attempt on his life.

Kang Bun Heang and Mong Davuth were arrested for the attack but released six months later because of a lack of evidence.

Sok Yoeun is in a Thai prison awaiting a court decision on whether he will be extradited to Cambodia.

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