A National Police official dismissed the Sam Rainsy Party’s claims of politically motivated violence and intimidation Wednesday, calling the accusations fabricated and “groundless.”
In 2001 and 2002, the Sam Rainsy Party claimed that there were 62 instances of violence against its members, but the national police found only 24 cases, said Mao Chandara, chief of the general staff for the National Police.
“All the cases were penal cases and were not related to political killings,” Mao Chandara said. “The accusations of the Sam Rainsy Party are groundless.”
Mao Chandara also refuted claims that the authorities did not thoroughly investigate and make arrests in the 11 killings of opposition members during 2001 and 2002, saying that police had arrested 14 individuals suspected in eight of the killings of Sam Rainsy Party members. He added that seven suspects have escaped arrest. Two killings of Sam Rainsy Party members are still being investigated, while one case has no basis because the victim of the crime is allegedly not an opposition party member, Mao Chandara said.
The National Police pointed out that every case of political violence against the Sam Rainsy Party has been either explained or solved.
In one of the two cases of opposition party killings in Kompong Cham province, the local authorities have identified the criminals and sent an arrest warrant to the provincial court, he said.
The police have also arrested an individual in the recent Kompong Speu province killing of the Sam Rainsy Party second deputy commune chief Tit Keo Monyroath, Mao Chandara said. He said Him Vuthea, the nephew of the victim, was arrested and charged with unintentionally killing Tit Keo Monyroath.
Rights groups have questioned whether Him Vuthea, who had confessed to accidentally shooting his uncle, is the right suspect.
At least 10 commune officials or political activists have been killed since the Feb 3, 2002, commune elections, including two ruling CPP officials.