Sok Yoeun Asks To Leave Thailand

Sok Yoeun called Wednesday for the Thai government to allow him to go to a third country, arguing he was not involved in a 1998 rocket attack in Cambodia, the Bangkok-based newspaper The Nation reported Thursday.

There is no evidence, the Sam Rainsy Party activist said, to back up the Cambodian government’s claim he masterminded the at­tack on Prime Minister Hun Sen’s motorcade.

“I was in Phnom Penh at the time. I had nothing to do with the at­tack,” Sok Yoeun said in an interview with the newspaper. “I would ask the Thai government to consider allowing me to go to a third country.”

The 52-year-old Battambang province man appeared Wednesday at his first hearing at the criminal court considering the Cambodian request to extradite him. Through a translator, he denied all charges against him.

Sok Yoeun was arrested in December at a Bangkok residence at the request of the Cambodian government, which has accused him of involvement in a 1998 attack in Siem Reap against a motorcade of politicians in which one bystander was killed. Human rights workers have said the allegations appear unfounded and politically motivated.

Sok Yoeun has since served a six-month jail term, which ended last month, for entering Thailand illegally. He is being detained pending the extradition trial.

“Hun Sen wants me back in Phnom Penh because he wants to link me with Sam Rainsy,” he said.

“It is like killing two birds with one stone. Hun Sen would certainly force me to implicate Sam Rainsy in this case.”

Thursday’s hearing started with the public prosecutor questioning the police officer who arrested Sok Yoeun. He told the court the arrest was carried out at the request of the Cambodian government.



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