Rights Group Requests To See Monk in Prison

The Khmer Kampuchea Krom Human Rights Organization on Friday presented the Vietnamese embassy an official request to visit Khmer Krom monk Tim Sakhorn in prison.

If KKKHRO President Ang Chanrith’s request is granted, it will mark the first time a non-relative will be allowed contact with Tim Sakhorn in almost a year.

Formerly the chief monk of a Takeo province pagoda, Tim Sakhorn was defrocked in June 2007 for supposedly damaging Cambodia’s relations with Vietnam, and then promptly disappeared, only to resurface later that month in a Vietnamese prison. He was subsequently convicted of political crimes by the Vietnamese courts.

Since then, Tim Sakhorn has been held in Vietnam’s Long An prison, where he has apparently only been allowed family as visitors. Several requests from Cambodian politicians and activists to see the 41-year-old monk have been denied.

Ang Chanrith said Sunday that he wants to take a delegation to meet Tim Sakhorn on May 20 so they can observe the monk’s health and living conditions.

Family members of Tim Sa­khorn last saw him in March, relatives said by phone Sunday. He was pale, weak and thin during that visit, said Tang Bann, his 31-year-old brother.

Sok Sam Oeun, president of the Cambodian Defenders Project, said he is anxious to see the visit request approved. The CDP has also tried several times to see Tim Sakhorn in prison, Sok Sam Oeun said, but each request was denied.

Officials at the Vietnamese em­bassy could not be reached for comment Sunday.

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