Scores Protest on Behalf of Embattled Monk

In an ongoing controversy, a Takeo province monk who has been accused of rape and theft but claims he is the victim of a politically motivated frame-up brought six truckloads of supporters to protest outside the Council of Ministers Friday, asking Prime Minister Hun Sen to intervene on the monk’s behalf.

“Prime Minister Hun Sen is my last hope. Only he can find justice,” defrocked monk Chea Chan Raksmei said Friday.

Authorities in Bati district threw Chea Chan Raksmei out of Wat Ang months ago, claiming he raped a girl, stole an artifact and made off with $20,000 in cash. Although they have not charged him with a crime—claiming they don’t have enough evidence—Bati authorities say the charges were grounded and that the monk already confessed.

Chea Chan Raksmei denies the accusations.

Supporters Friday said Chea Chan Raksmei was framed be­cause the father of the alleged victim wanted his job as chief monk at Wat Ang, and because he disagreed with local CPP officials.

“The monk is clean. There was no rape. It is all a slander to have her father, who is a relative of the village chief, be chief monk of the pagoda,” Touch Ate said, calling Chea Chan Raksmei “our last hope.”

Bati district Governor Phloak Phan said the protesters were a minority of the village’s people and accused political interests of stirring up the protest.

Police Friday kept the crowds from mobbing the premier’s car, and Hun Sen passed through the protesters without comment.


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