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Human rights concern following KNLF arrests

Mom Sophon / Khmer Times Share:
KNLF members were held after a press conference. Supplied

Police in Phnom Penh have arrested three members of the Khmer National Liberation Front (KNLF) for offences against the Cambodian government.
The city’s deputy police chief, Soem Vuthy, said the KNLF was an illegal group and he had issued a warrant for the arrest of its leader after they held a press conference.
“The KNLF press conference was illegal and we have detained three of their members as a result,” he said.
“We are preparing the correct paperwork for the court because they illegally created a position of Minister of Agriculture of the Exiled Government against the interests of the legitimate government.”
Among the three men detained was Thuy Vy, who had been given the rogue ministerial position and two others who had participated in party activities: Chhun Savak Ket, the director the Khemarak Islam organisation, and KNLF member So Phealin.
The KNLF had claimed at its press conference that its goal was “to find a resolution to a political crisis that has been deadlocked for many years and furthermore, to demand the government respects human rights and frees political prisoners, including members of the Khmer National Liberation Front, civil organisations and political activists”.
Ten KNLF members were last year found guilty of plotting against the official government and were each sentenced five to ten years in prison.
The group’s exiled president Sam Serei was sentenced in his absence to nine years in prison for plotting against the official government.
Mr Serei yesterday condemned the police for arresting his colleagues and called it “a serious and unacceptable violation of human rights in Cambodia”.
“Efforts to resolve this political crisis were deadlocked years ago,” he said from Denmark. “We demand the release of all political prisoners, included members of Khmer National Liberation Front, CNRP activists, human right officers and civil organisations.”
Mr Serei begged the international community and the United Nations to intervene and prevent human rights violations in Cambodia.
Support came from human rights group Licadho, whose spokesman Am Sam Ath said: “The police should differentiate between freedom of expression and illegal activity. The activity of the KNLF members has not yet been shown to be criminal and they should not have been arrested.”

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