Lawyer: CFF Suspects Will Be Tried Thursday

Five men accused of belonging to the US-based, anti-government Cambodian Freedom Fighters are scheduled to be tried at Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Thursday, defense lawyer Son Arun said.

Suspect Sou Kim, who ran as Funcinpec’s No 2 candidate for Pailin in last year’s general elections, has been named as the cell’s leader and is accused of plan­ning a grenade attack on a Koh Kong province military installation.

He was arrested in Pailin on Feb 13 and charged with involvement in organized crime.

Shortly after Sou Kim’s arrest, Sok Phal, chief of the Interior Ministry’s Central Investigation Department, said the confessions of the other four suspects, arrested in November, had led to the Funcinpec candidate’s arrest.

In a separate case, CFF Presi­dent Chhun Yasith wrote by e-mail from his hometown of Long Beach, California, to deny that supporters of his rebel movement planted explosives at a Koh Kong province ferry terminal last month.

Koh Kong Provincial Court Prosecutor Keo Sun said Mon­day that four men arrested for allegedly planting an explosive device at the terminal confessed to acting on orders from a CFF commander. The timer-rigged device ex­ploded before police could defuse it, destroying a wooden shack and slightly injuring several people on April 11.

“CFF did not do any small event or attack any civilian public places at all,” Chhun Yasith wrote. “If CFF does, it will attack the government itself as [on Nov 24, 2000] when CFF attacked the Na­tional Defense Department building, etc.”

The government has blamed the CFF for the short-lived No­vem­­­ber 2000 attack on several government buildings in Phnom Penh, a charge Chhun Yasith has proudly accepted.

Be it bluster or resolve, the CFF leader, who works as an ac­countant in the US, is staying his rhetorical course with renewed promises of Prime Minister Hun Sen’s violent removal.

“May 8th, 2004, is the 7th an­ni­versary of CFF, it could be the last anniversary that we celebrate in Long Beach. [The] 8th an­ni­ver­sary will be celebrated with its victory in Phnom Penh. Hun Sen will be done,” he wrote.

He also offered information on the CFF’s political activities in the US, saying that CFF Vice Presi­dent Sokhom So has been invited to join the National Republican Con­gressional Committee—a booster group for the US’ Repub­li­can Party.

“Most CFF members in the US are the Republican Party members. We are supporting George W Bush, who can handle the American matters during this war time,” Chhun Yasith wrote.


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