Hun Sen Questioned About Grenade Attack

A Phnom Penh Municipal Court deputy prosecutor visited Prime Minister Hun Sen at home on Thursday to ask him questions about a 1997 grenade attack on a demonstration led by opposition leader Sam Rainsy, according to the premier’s adviser Om Yentieng.

Sam Rainsy filed a criminal suit against Hun Sen in February, ac­cusing him of masterminding the attack that killed at least 13 people and injured more than 120 others in front of the National Assembly.

Om Yentieng said that deputy Prosecutor Yet Chakriya met with Hun Sen for an hour and one half and that Hun Sen answered all of his questions.

The adviser declined to say what questions were asked and what answers were given.

“Hun Sen did not go to the court because the prosecutor said he wanted to come to the prime minister’s house,” Om Yentieng said. “Hun Sen allowed the prosecutor to ask questions because he wants to uphold the rule of law.”

As such interviews customarily take place in a judge’s chambers, Yet Chakriya’s visit is unlikely to dispel the widely held perception that the executive branch wields unlawful influence in Cambodia’s courts.

Om Yentieng cited the trial of Nhim Sophea, a nephew of Hun Sen, as an example of the premier’s desire to see an independent judiciary. However, that case was marred by unexplained irregularities that left the investigating mun­icipal penal police chief baffled.

The final proceedings of Nhim Sophea’s case took place behind locked and guarded doors and consisted mostly of the Nhim Sophea and three friends giving their versions of the night their drunken party’s car crashed into a parked truck and one of them shot at by­standers, killing three and injuring four.

Nhim Sophea, whom police had named as the shooter, was sentenced to three years in prison, of which he is to serve one and one half, for involuntary manslaughter.

Yet Chakriya did not answer repeated calls on Thursday. His clerk, Y Sovann, turned reporters away from his office, saying that Yet Chakriya was not there.

 

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