Hun Sen Summoned Over 1997 Grenade Attack

A Phnom Penh Municipal Court prosecutor has asked Prime Minister Hun Sen to ans­wer questions relating to a suit filed by Sam Rainsy, who has accused the prime minister of masterminding a 1997 grenade attack on a protest led by himself.

A letter from Deputy Prosecu­tor Yet Chakriya to Hun Sen, asking for “some of his time,” arrived at the prime minister’s office Thurs­day, the day after Hun Sen left for France, adviser Om Yen­tieng said Tuesday.

“Because Samdech Hun Sen had left before the letter arrived, we are waiting until he returns to discuss this,” Om Yentieng said.

He added that Hun Sen would cooperate with the prosecutor.

Yet Chakriya’s clerk Y Sovann con­firmed that the prosecutor be­gan reviewing the case after Hun Sen left for France.

Sam Rainsy’s attorney Som Chan­dina said Tuesday that he had received no information from Yet Chakriya about the case, but that any questioning of Hun Sen should take place in court and not at any other location.

“The only way to comply with the law is to summon Hun Sen for questioning in the court,” Som Chan­dina said. “It doesn’t affect his [parliamentary] immunity. It is only questioning. If there is a charge, the prosecutor must first ask the National Assembly to lift his immunity.”

Yet Chakriya could not be reached for comment this week.

Regarding the location of the prosecutor’s interview, Om Yen­tieng said: “It doesn’t matter whether Hun Sen goes to the court or the prosecutor goes to his home. Either way, he is willing to comply.”

Sam Rainsy said Tuesday that he thought his case against Hun Sen in Cambodia had stalled. How­ever, in November 2000 he filed a complaint relating to the attack with the courts in France, where Sam Rainsy holds a second citizenship.

He said Tuesday that he had written the French investigating judge to tell him that Hun Sen was in France and could be summoned. He said he had done so at the judge’s earlier request.

Sam Rainsy said the legal ac­tion in France was only a complaint from the victim of an assassination attempt and did not seek a culprit.

“If Hun Sen is actually summoned, there is no charge against him. At best, he is a witness; at worst, he is suspect,” the opposition leader said.

Asked whether Hun Sen had been summoned by the French court, Om Yentieng said, “No­thing happened,” and did not elab­orate.

Hun Sen was scheduled to come back from France today, but government officials on Tuesday would not confirm his return date.

(Additional reporting by Porter Barron)


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