Three men detained on suspicion of links with the Southeast Asian terrorist group Jemaah Islamiyah are expected to stand trial now that the investigation into their case is complete, court officials said.
Thai nationals Abdul Azi Haji Chiming, 35, and Muhammad Yalaludin Mading, 41, and Egyptian Esam Muhammad Khidr Ali, 41, were arrested in late May as police shut down the Om-Alqura Institute, an Islamic school in Kandal province funded by Om-Alqura, a Saudi Arabia-based organization. The three men worked at the school.
“I have finished the investigation and given it to the prosecuting judge,” Oun Bunna, an investigating judge at Phnom Penh Municipal Court, said Tuesday. He did not know when the trial would begin.
Oun Bunna said he had completed the probe within six months of the suspects’ arrest. Under Untac law, suspects cannot be held for more than six months without a trial. The three men, who were charged May 28 under Cambodia’s anti-terror law, have been detained more than seven months.
Oun Bunna said he has requested documents related to the case from the suspects’ native countries through the Ministry of Justice and Foreign Affairs, but has yet to receive them.
In August, Oun Bunna said the evidence linking the suspects to Jemaah Islamiyah was too weak to put them on trial. He did not comment on the strength of the evidence against the suspects on Tuesday.
Kao Soupha, a lawyer representing the suspects, said the trial should be held without delay, noting that his clients have been held past the legal period.
Kao Soupha wrote King Norodom Sihanouk a letter dated Dec 18, asking for the King’s intervention in urging the court to release his clients. Following his request, the King wrote to Minister of Justice Neav Sithong in a letter dated Dec 28, asking the minister to inspect the lawyer’s request.
Ham Meng Se, the prosecuting judge who will preside over the trial, could not be reached for comment Tuesday.