Terrorist Case To Go to Trial

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.


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