CPP Honorary President and National Assembly President Heng Samrin has come to the assistance of a jailed CPP commune chief in Sihanoukville, asking the municipal court to consider a request to release the man on bail, Heng Samrin said Wednesday.
Heng Samrin said by telephone that he made the request to the court to consider the case of Snguon Chhum, who is accused of illegally granting a land title. He said he wrote to the court earlier this month on the advice of the Assembly’s human rights commission, and was not exerting political influence of the court.
“I acted on the request of the Assembly commission; it was not politically motivated,” he said.
On Oct 5, Snguon Chhum, chief of Bet Traing commune in Prey Nop district, was arrested for illegally granting a land title to one party in a property dispute.
CPP District Governor Ban Sarom said that Snguon Chhum was only guilty of an administrative error, and should be released on bail. To expedite the process, he and other officials sent letters last week to the justice and interior ministries, the Assembly and the Council of Ministers, he said.
Heng Samrin and the CPP’s Justice Minister Ang Vong Vathana have both sent letters requesting that the commune chief be set free on bail. Though detained, Snguon Chhum is currently in hospital with hemorrhoids.
Ang Vong Vathana could not be reached for comment.
In neighboring Kampot province, Funcinpec’s former provincial governor Puth Chandarith has been languishing in jail since July after being arrested on allegations of corruption and land grabbing.
Regarding Puth Chandarith, Heng Samrin said that nobody had asked him to intervene in the jailed governor’s case.
Lu Laysreng, Funcinpec rural development minister, said that his party had been trying to get Puth Chandarith released on bail but added: “It is hard.”