Two Arrested Generals Should Get Bail, Says Judge

An investigating judge at the Battambang Provincial Court recommended Thursday that two of the three RCAF generals arrested on organized crime charges be released on bail, a court official said.

Provincial court Prosecutor Sar Yosthavarak said inconsistencies in testimony by seven armed robbers on Wed­nesday afternoon has now prompted Investigating Judge Duch Sok Sarin to recommend the release on bail of two of the generals.

Confessions by the robbers led to the arrest Tuesday of the three generals: Major-General Uth Sakhan, Funcinpec’s deputy commander of Brigade 70; Brigadier-General Khieng Savorn, a member of the SRP’s steering committee; and Brigadier-General Men Saran, deputy commander of RCAF Military Region Two.

“The judge at the court decided that Khieng Savorn and Uth Sakhan are to be released on bail and Men Saran is to be left in jail,” Sar Yosthavarak said.

Sar Yosthavarak said he is ap­pealing the investigating judge’s decision and that all three will remain in Battambang Prison until his appeal is heard.

The three have denied the charges, he added.

Judge Duch Sok Sarin could not be reached for comment.

Khieng Savorn’s wife, Duong Chan Vortei, said she is worried about her husband’s health after visiting him in prison Thursday. “He needs special care…he needs medication every day,” she said.

SRP lawmaker for Battambang Eng Chhay Eang reiterated his party’s complaint that the arrest of Khieng Savorn based on the confessions of criminals was unjust and likely politically driven. “This is politically motivated,” he added.

Information Minister and government spokesman Khieu Kanharith on Thursday declined to comment on the case, saying it was a Battambang court matter.

He did, however, dispute the SRP’s claim that the arrests were politically motivated.

“This is a Battambang province thing-don’t try to politicize everything,” he chided. “It’s better if Sam Rainsy gets a lawyer to study the case than just criticize,” he added.

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