Terrorism Trial of Nepalese Man And Two Bangladeshis Begins

Phnom Penh Municipal Court yesterday began the terrorism trial of two Bangladeshi men and a Nepalese man accused of sending letters to the US, British and Aus­tralian embassies last April, claiming that four al-Qaida-linked terrorists in Phnom Penh intended to bomb the embassies. 

Nepalese national DP Paudyal, 44, and Bangladeshi national Raf­igul Islam—who were arrested in May, along with Bangladeshi na­tional Miah Mohammad Huy­mayun Kabir, 56, who was arrested in September—are being charged with two counts of terrorism each, under articles 29 and 33 of the anti-terrorism law. Mr Paudyal, whose case will not be heard until the end of the month, is also being tried for a separate charge of illegal entry into Cambodia.

At the hearing yesterday morning, representatives from all three em­bassies were on hand as judges and a prosecutor questioned Mr Islam and Mr Kabir, who both de­nied the charges.

Mr Islam is accused of being one of the authors of the letters, allegedly signing them under the name “Kalam.” Mr Islam yesterday said he was unaware of the letters before his arrest.             “I was only first shown the letter when the court showed it to me in questioning,” he said, adding that he only knew the other de­fendants as customers at his Phnom Penh restaurant.

He also said he was suspicious of Mr Kabir, because he believed the handwriting on the letters and Mr Kabir’s were similar. “I’ve seen how he writes in my restaurant,” he said.

In the letters, the authors claim that four terrorists sent by al-Qaida, residing in Phnom Penh, are plotting to bomb the three embassies, according to a letter submitted to the court by the Australian Federal Police to the Cambodian National Police, dated April 26.

“I suspect the letter has been written by a group of criminals involved in people-smuggling crimes with the intention of causing…trouble for a rival group,” police liaison officer Ian Faulds wrote.

Mr Kabir also told the court he was innocent, and said Mr Islam may have been framed by three men who had financial grievances with him.


Related Stories

Latest News