SRP Not Involved in Empire Plot: Pursat Judge

An alleged conspiracy by the so-called Angkor Empire Movement or Khmer Empire Movement to attack Vietnam and Thailand did not involve the SRP, and the case has not been reopened, a Pursat province judge claimed Monday.

Pursat Provincial Court Investi­gating Judge Kong Sokhom said by telephone that his investigation of the Empire movement had cleared the SRP five months ago.

“I am not conducting any further investigation,” Kong Sokhom said. “My investigation found that the Sam Rainsy Party was not implicated in the movement,” he said. “There is no separate investigation being conducted by me,” he added.

The Pursat court’s director and pro­secutor said Thursday that the court had postponed announcing the verdict of an April trial in the case and has now reopened the investigation. Re-investigation was announced following comments by Prime Minister Hun Sen that the SRP was being investigated over alleged links to the movement.

Four men, including former SRP member Thab The, were arrested last year and accused of seeking to recruit hundreds of men to form a militia as part of a so-called movement.

Pursat Court Director Pol Vorn could not be reached Monday; however, his clerk Touch Sophal said Kong Sokhom is indeed the investigator for the case.

SRP Secretary-General Eng Chhay Eang said Monday that those who had falsely accused the SRP should be punished and added that the court had delayed announcing the verdict of its investigation because of the upcoming elections.

“The SRP is not concerned. We know the political situation,” he said. “The ruling party is using the judicial system to crack down on people.”

Van Borath, attorney for Thab The and Dara Chan Veasna, said the court should release his clients because they had been held long past the six-month pretrial detention limit. He also said he could not act for his clients outside of court because of their insolvency.

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