The Sam Rainsy Party member arrested Sunday in connection with last year’s Siem Reap rocket attack was in jail at the time of the incident and could not have been involved, opposition party officials said Tuesday.
Kang Bun Heang was jailed on weapons charges in Battambang Sept 24, 1998, when a B-40 rocket was fired at a convoy carrying Prime Minister Hun Sen, Sam Rainsy Party Cabinet Chief Phi Thach said.
The Party alleges Battambang province court documents show Kang Bun Heang was released from jail Oct 8, 1998, more than two weeks after the rocket attack, which killed one bystander and wounded three others.
Though Hun Sen called the incident an assassination attempt, critics of the prime minister say his loyalists orchestrated the attack to justify a crackdown on opposition party members.
Phi Thach and other Sam Rainsy Party officials maintain this month’s arrests of Kang Bun Heang and another man, Mong Davuth, are another attempt by the government to intimidate the opposition party.
Nou Chantha, investigating prosecutor for the military court, would not confirm or deny Tuesday that arrests have been made in the case.
He said he was investigating the case but did not have any political objectives.
“I do not think about Sam Rainsy, Funcinpec or CPP,” Nou Chantha said. “I am finding fact.”