R’kiri court dismisses rights worker complaint

A prosecutor in Ratanakkiri province has dismissed a 2007 complaint filed by a rights worker alleging that two Banlung City deputy police chiefs illegally raided the worker’s home while he was at a protest, police said.

Adhoc provincial investigator Chhay Thy, 42, lodged a complaint in December 2007, accusing Banlung deputy police chiefs Puth Savy and Ma Buntung of searching his home in Laban Siek commune while he was at a march against land grabs and deforestation.

“The court decision to dismiss the complaint has nothing to do with the defendants’ positions as police officers,” commune police chief Nuon Sarith said yesterday, adding that he had delivered the letter in person. “Police were briefly informed by court officials that there was no strong evidence to support [Mr Thy’s] allegation. That is why the court decided to dismiss.”

Mr Buntung, one of the accused, denied any wrongdoing when reached by telephone yesterday.

“The court decision is right and is based on the fact that I have done nothing wrong,” Mr Buntung said. “On the day of the incident, I was just dropping by [Mr Thy’s] home to ask for a glass of water to drink.”

Mr Thy said he had been interviewed in July by deputy prosecutor Ros Saram, who could not be reached yesterday. Mr Thy claimed that complaints like his were often dismissed at the provincial court, and said he had little faith in the courts. Nevertheless, Mr Thy said he planned to appeal.

“It’s common that any complaint alleging that forces were involved in an illegal housing raid or land grab crimes…or deforestation for land encroachment is dismissed by the court,” Mr Thy said.

The letter sent to Mr Thy did not give a reason for the prosecutor’s dismissal of his three-year-old complaint, according to a copy.

“You have the right to appeal related to this decision-making letter beginning from the day you receive this letter,” the copy said.


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