Released Rocket Attack Suspects Return Home

Sam Rainsy Party members Mong Davuth and Kong Bun Heang have returned to their home provinces following their release from military prison Monday after court officials failed to gather enough evidence ag­ainst them to try them in connection with the 1998 Siem Reap rocket attack.

But the pair remain fearful of what party officials have called continuing CPP harassment, particularly after comments made by one military intelligence investigator that he will continue to pursuing the pair and gather evidence that could result in a rearrest.

Hour Sareth, the military intelligence research unit’s deputy director, said earlier this week that he disagreed with the release of the pair and had completed about 70 percent of his case against them.

However, Sam Rainsy Party officials maintain there is no credible evidence to suggest that Mong Davuth and Kong Bun Heang took part in the rocket attack, which has been described by supporters of Prime Minister Hun Sen as an attempt on his life. The attack killed one bystander but left Hun Sen unscathed.

“If they have 70 percent of the evidence, then why were Mong Davuth and Kong Bun Heang released?” Sam Rainsy Party Treasurer Yim Sovann said.

One human rights worker said Tuesday that the reasons given by the court for a pre-trial release could have been applied at any point during the last six months and were not the result of recent investigatory work. This fact, the rights worker said, strengthens claims that the arrests were merely meant to point out party members’ vulnerability.

Even Hour Sareth suggested that Mong Davuth and Kong Bun Heang are perhaps not the intended targets of his investigation—saying he was only interested in finding the leader of the rocket attack.

 

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