Cambodian charges 3 suspects after mob attack on opposition lawmakers
CAMBODIA – The Associated Press
AFP photoA Cambodian court on Nov. 4, indicted three men in the mob beating of two opposition lawmakers outside of the National Assembly last week, which left one of the lawmakers knocked out cold.
The three suspects, who police say turned themselves in on Nov. 3, and confessed, were charged with two counts of intention to commit violence and intention to damage property. Each charge carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison, said Meas Chan Piseth, a prosecutor at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court. The suspects were identified as Chay Sarith, 33, Mao Hoeun, 34, and Suth Vanny, 45.
The three suspects were members of the country’s military, Agence France Presse reported as Cambodian police as saying.
“They said they are military, but I don’t know which units they are from,” Sok Khemarin, director of the penal police department and a member of a government committee set up to probe the violence, told AFP.
Lawmakers Nhoy Chamreoun and Kong Sakphea were dragged from their cars and beaten after leaving an Oct. 26 session of the assembly. Both men were repeatedly punched and kicked and their cars were damaged.
They were attacked by members of a pro-government mob protesting outside the assembly to demand that Kem Sokha, the deputy leader of the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party, step down as the parliamentary vice president. Many in the mob were wearing pieces of red cloth, a trademark of vigilantes connected to the ruling party.
Rights groups have demanded an independent investigation into the assault that appeared to have been carried out by supporters of Prime Minister Hun Sen, the country’s longtime authoritarian leader.