Judge Questions CNRP Official; 3 Get Court Date

A CNRP official was questioned Wednesday by the Phnom Penh Municipal Court over his role in a brawl that broke out near Freedom Park on July 15, while three opposition youth activists who remain in prison were given a date to appear at the Appeal Court, their lawyer said.

Meach Sovannara, a CNRP activist who was present at the Freedom Park protest last month, was also summoned to appear at the court, according to the party.

Oeur Narith, an assistant to CNRP public affairs chief Mu Sochua, was questioned Wednesday by Investigating Judge Keo Mony over his role in the violent demonstration, which the court has used as the basis for charges of insurrection and incitement to commit a felony.

Mr. Narith said that during the questioning it was clear to him that the charges, which have al so been brought against seven CNRP lawmakers who were present at the protest, lacked substantive evidence.

“I can see that it’s a political issue which is linked to the intimidation of CNRP Youth,” Mr. Narith said. “If the court provides me true justice I will not be afraid because what we did from beginning to end was based on the law and in a nonviolent manner.”

Sam Sokong, a lawyer for the CNRP, said he had received notice Wednesday that the three CNRP Youth leaders—arrested on August 2 and sent to Prey Sar prison for their alleged roles in the July   15 violence—have been called to appear at the Appeal Court on August 22.

Khin Chamroeun, 32, chief of the CNRP Youth wing in Phnom Penh; Neang Sokhun, 28, a youth leader for Tuol Kok district; and San Kimheng, 28, treasurer for CNRP Youth in Meanchey district, were denied bail earlier this month despite CNRP President Sam Rainsy repeatedly saying he has been assured by the CPP of their imminent release.

Mao Monyvann, a CNRP lawmaker, said Wednesday that Judge Mony had summoned Mr. Sovannara for questioning at the court on September 1. “This is a political issue,” Mr. Monyvann said. “We must respect the political agreement made by both political parties to end these problems.”

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