Victims of 2013 Wat Phnom Attack Questioned

Penal police on Wednesday finished questioning the 10 plaintiffs suing Daun Penh district officials they accuse of leading a pack of armed men in an attack on them in Phnom Phnom in 2013.

On the night of September 22, 2013, a group of peaceful protesters were holding a hunger strike at the city’s Wat Phnom Park hoping to forestall the opening session of the National Assembly following the year’s disputed national election results when they were set upon by men in plain clothes wielding sticks, electric batons and slingshots.

After streetlights around the park shut off, the attackers, some of whom wore face masks, assaulted the protesters and several journalists, unhindered by riot police at the scene. A truck carrying several young, masked men with batons was seen driving into the Daun Penh district office later that night.

The 10 plaintiffs were summoned to Wednesday’s questioning on Monday, some two-and-a-half years after filing their suit against deputy district governor Sok Penhvuth, district councilor Pich Socheata and district public security chief Kim Vutha.

Sam Soeng, one of the plaintiffs, said they were questioned one at a time over the course of about an hour and a half.

“I don’t think there will be justice because the events happened about three years ago and they only just summoned us,” he said. “In my opinion, they’re just doing it to look good.”

Sok Khemrin, head of the Interior Ministry’s penal department, which led the questioning, said his staff would send their report to the Phnom Penh Municipal Court “soon.” He declined to be more specific and refused to say whether they would summon the defendants.

On Tuesday, Mr. Khemrin said the summonses had only just been sent because he was forwarded the case from the court last week.

Court spokesman Ly Sophana declined to explain why the case was taking so long.

“I don’t know how to answer you. The law does not place a time limit on investigations. Some cases are based on facts and evidence,” he said, before hanging up.

District officials have denied responsibility for the attack.

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