Border row defendants get lawyer


TWO of the villagers facing charges at Svay Rieng provincial court in relation to the uprooting of border-demarcation posts have obtained legal counsel for their upcoming trial, a rights groups said on Wednesday.

Sam Sokong, a lawyer from the Cambodian Defenders Project, is set to defend Meas Srey, 39 and Prom Chea, 41, currently being detained at Svay Rieng provincial prison, according to a statement issued by the Cambodian Human Rights Action Committee (CHRAC) on Wednesday.

Three other villagers – Prak Chea, 28, Prak Koeun, 38, and Neang Phally, 39 – are still on the run from the authorities.

The five villagers have been accused of purposely removing wooden border-demarcation posts along with opposition leader Sam Rainsy after a Buddhist ceremony in Chantrea district on October 25.

The two villagers will face trial on January 27, and Sam Rainsy – who is currently out of the country – is set to be tried in absentia.

Lawyer Sam Sokong confirmed on Wednesday that he will appear in court as scheduled to defend his clients, but said he was not yet clear on the particulars of the case.

“I will go to defend my clients. I can’t say whether my clients have been accused illegally or legally because I haven’t yet seen the case,” he said.

Hang Chhaya, president of CHRAC, confirmed that the Cambodian Defenders Project would not request any fees from the families of the villagers.

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