Identified only by stickers marked A to F, six Sam Rainsy Party supporters took their turn at the microphone Monday to tell their stories of intimidation, fraud and irregularities during last week’s election.
Witness A, a 62-year-old man from Kampot province, told the press conference he had been forced to take part in a process known as “telegraphing,” in which voters were handed a fake ballot paper, asked to place it in the box and smuggle out their own clean ballot for a party member to tick and hand on to the next person in line.
The man said a group of armed CPP supporters came to his house the night before the election and gave him a ballot to start the “telegraphing” chain.
“They said, ‘Keep this a secret, if this information gets out we will shoot and kill your family. If you keep a secret, we will support you for the rest of your life,’ ” the man told reporters at Sam Rainsy’s house.
On polling day, the man said he did as he was told and put the unmarked paper into the box, smuggling out his own ballot paper.
“I noticed there was a lot of CPP people, and they told me to leave quickly,” he said. “They asked for the unmarked paper.”
Another man spoke through a microphone. He was a Sam Rainsy Party agent, he said, who was observing at a Phnom Penh counting station.
During the counting, he said he saw counters slip Sam Rainsy Party ballots behind CPP ballots, then call out the CPP.
The 20-year-old agent complained to the counting station official.
“It was true they were doing this and they were not happy that I complained. They grimaced,” he said.
Witness B, as the young man was identified, said he was followed home from the count and attacked by a gang of between four and 10 men. He said the group pulled him from a taxi-wagon, hit him with a plank, and punched him repeatedly.
A party spokesman said the man spent two days in the hospital and needed stitches for the wounds in his head.
Three other witnesses, all party agents, spoke of election irregularities, including allegations that polling station officials in Prey Veng province helped older women to mark their ballot papers.
A sixth witness said a group of CPP officials and police surrounded her house in Kompong Cham province, forcing her to flee to Phnom Penh.
The six testimonies will be reported either to human rights organizations or the National Election Committee, a party spokesman said.
A statement from the Sam Rainsy Party said about 235 of its supporters have fled to the capital since the election “because they are afraid of CPP violence.”