Four SRP members who were investigated for terrorism in 2004 were once again summoned to Kompong Thom Provincial Court for questioning on Tuesday, a court official said yesterday–a move condemned by SRP lawmakers as an attempt to weaken party support in the area.
Prasat Balaing district council chief Ouk Than, Kraya deputy commune chief Kim Hong and SRP members Koy Koeun and Chaom Cheav were investigated for alleged terrorist activities in 2004 but released due to a lack of evidence, Judge Seng Leang said.
He declined to give any details about the case as he said it was still under investigation.
“When we finish the investigation, we can decide whether to send it to trial or not,” he said, adding that the men were not questioned on Tuesday as they did not have a lawyer present.
The four men claimed the accusations are related to a 2004 incident. According to Mr Than, Kraya commune residents were disturbed by rumors about a gang of bandits who attacked people with syringes while they slept-an act known as “paper tigers.” Mr Than and his colleagues reported the situation to provincial authorities in a letter, he said.
As a result of this letter, commune police accused the four men of spreading rumors and causing unrest, he claimed.
Koul Panha, executive director of the Committee for Free and Fair Elections, said the court should explain why the men are being investigated for terrorism. “The charge is not clear in relation to the evidence,” he said.
SRP spokesman Yim Sovann said the opposition enjoyed strong support in the area and that this was a common government tactic designed to weaken the party.
“They know they cannot halt the popularity of the SRP so they don’t know what to do except bring this old case to threaten the party,” he said.