Probe of 28 Freedom Fighter Suspects Finished

Phnom Penh Municipal Court has finished its investigation into 28 Cambodian Freedom Fighter suspects, including Richard Kiri Kim, the only Cambodian-Amer­ican in custody for his alleged in­vol­ve­ment in the November at­tack on government offices.

The suspects are charged with ter­rorism and involvement in an illegal armed force, the US-based CFF, which has taken credit for the attack.

Investigating Judge Ham Meng­­­se said he sent the cases to the prosecutor last week. He said the investigation was complicated, but he has many documents that prove the suspects are guilty.

He added, however, that there were suspects who were “cheated” into coming to Phnom Penh because of promises of a job and they got caught in the fighting.

Hundreds were arrested and 54 have been charged after the attack on Nov 24 that left as many as eight dead and dozens injured. The suspects are being held at Prey Sar prison in Phnom Penh’s Dangkao district.

Court officials said a trial date has not been set. Ham Mengse said Kiri Kim would be tried with the first group of suspects whose investigations are finished.

David Chaniawa, Kiri Kim’s law­yer, said he has not seen his client for a few months because he has had difficulty getting per­mis­sion to visit Kiri Kim in prison. He said he must write a letter to the Ministry of Interior each time he wants to see his client.

“The Ministry of Interior is being too strict,” Chaniawa said. “It is not right for them to not al­low me to see my client.”

Sao Sophea, a lawyer for two CFF suspects, said he too has had difficulty meeting with his clients. He said lawyers normally may see clients in prison three times a month, but he is permitted to see the CFF suspects only once a month.

He added that the suspects’ families have also had a difficult time visiting, too. Usually, families may visit Prey Sar every Satur­day, Sao Sophea said.

Prison officials could not be reached for comment.




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