Sam Rainsy’s allegations that Prime Minister Hun Sen planned a 1997 grenade attack on a crowd of peaceful protesters in an attempt to assassinate him was accepted for consideration by a municipal court prosecutor Wednesday, a court clerk said.
The opposition party leader met with Phnom Penh Municipal Court Prosecutor Yet Chakriya on Wednesday morning and presented evidence that he says incriminates Hun Sen and his bodyguard unit in the attack that killed at least 13 and injured more than 120, the clerk said on condition of anonymity.
It remains unclear if Yet Chakriya will pass the case to an investigating judge for prosecution. Several attempts to reach him by phone on Wednesday failed.
In a copy of the lawsuit obtained Wednesday, Sam Rainsy alleges that “Hun Sen, the current prime minister, ordered armed forces under his control to throw grenades into the group of about 300 workers with myself in front of the National Assembly in order to assassinate me.
“This is a terrorist act that cost the lives of at least 16 people and injured hundreds. I can affirm that Hun Sen is a criminal, citing the information from the US Senate published in 1999 and some of the witnesses who have pointed out that Hun Sen’s bodyguards participated in the attack.”
It calls for Hun Sen to pay compensation of $50 million and be imprisoned for 10 to 20 years.
After the meeting, Sam Rainsy toned down his accusations against the prime minister and said that the premier “may have been involved, but the final decision will be made by the court.”
“I want the court to offer justice to the victims,” he said.
Hun Sen and his ruling CPP have repeatedly denied carrying out the attack, which injured a US citizen and sparked a controversial probe by the US Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Sam Rainsy maintains that a classified FBI report implicates Hun Sen and his bodyguard unit, and an open report in 1999 to the US Senate’s Committee on Foreign Relations was cited as evidence he would present if the case goes to court.
A bipartisan group of high-profile US senators last week sent a letter to FBI Director Robert Mueller urging him to renew the investigation, which technically remains open. George Folsom, president of the Washington-based International Republican Institute, made a similar public appeal this week.
Jackson Cox, IRI’s chief in Cambodia, said he did not know whether the FBI would comply with the request, but noted that more US politicians were pushing for the investigation to continue.
“That is new, and that is movement,” Cox said Wednesday.
Interior Ministry spokesman Khieu Sopheak said last week that the FBI always received its cooperation in the investigation and that the bureau was welcome to resume its probe.
(Additional reporting by Luke Reynolds)