SRP Official Fears Troop Offer Was Gov’t Trap

Sam Rainsy Party Secretary-General Eng Chhay Eang said Wednesday that he has reported to local rights groups about a visit by two men offering to muster troops to break fellow opposition lawmaker Cheam Channy out of jail, fearing the pair were sent by the government.

The two men, both wearing ci­vil­ian clothes, had to be given telephone directions on Monday to get to the Sam Rainsy Party head­quarters, although they claimed to be party members, Eng Chhay Eang said.

One of the two men said he was “suffer[ing] greatly” because of Cheam Channy’s detention and offered to bring 40,000 troops to break him out of military detention, Eng Chhay Eang said.

Cheam Channy is currently in military detention on charges of forming a so-called illegal armed force.

“I said ‘Stop talking about this because I’m afraid this is a trap to get me arrested,’” Eng Chhay Eang said on Wednesday.

Eng Chhay Eang said he called security, who escorted the pair out of his office. He then reported the incident to Licadho, Adhoc and the Cambodian Center for Human Rights.

Eng Chhay Eang declined to name the two men, saying he did not want to make problems for them if they were sincere in their offer.

Chan Soveth, Adhoc monitoring section program officer, said that by the time he arrived at the party headquarters, the pair had left.

“I think the two people were a trick with high-ranking [government] people behind them,” Chan Soveth said.

Government Spokesman Khieu Kanharith did not answer repeated phone calls Wednesday, and Om Yentieng, adviser to Prime Min­ister Hun Sen, said he was in a meeting and unable to speak to a reporter.


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