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Court denies Akira Museum permission to reopen

Khy Sovuthy / Khmer Times No Comments Share:
Museum owner Oeun Yeak. Facebook

The Cambodian Landmine Museum, which planned to reopen on Monday, cannot do so because Siem Reap Provincial Court has yet to complete the case against its owner.

Oeun Yeak, owner of the museum commonly known as the Akira Museum, yesterday said that he went to the court to present a plan to reopen the museum but was told to wait.

“I met with a clerk of Investigating Judge Sin Sovannaroth on Monday and he told me to wait,” he said. “So I cannot reopen my museum because the provincial court has not made a decision on it yet.”

Mr Yeak said that the clerk also told him that he would inform him if there is any new development in the case.

Mr Yeak and two directors were jailed and the museum was shuttered following an explosion in August.

He and the directors, Heanh Sokunthea and Oeun Yun, are on bail on illegal weapons charges after a fire at the museum caused the explosion.

Following their arrests, police shuttered the museum because it lacked permits to store and display unexploded ordnance.

Mr Yeak is a former Khmer Rouge child soldier who worked as a deminer and is the museum’s curator. His devotion to demining and care for young victims of landmines garnered him the title CNN Hero by the cable news channel in 2010.

Judge Sovannaroth yesterday declined to comment on the issue, citing professional ethics, and referred questions to the provincial court’s spokesman.

Yin Srang, the spokesman, yesterday said that the case is ongoing and the judge has not finished his investigation yet.

Chhuoy Sopheak, a lawyer for Mr Yeak, declined to comment.

Ly Thuch, vice president of the Cambodian Mine Action Authority, yesterday said that the authority will help to coordinate with relevant officials to get the museum reopened.

“I will request officials of the Cambodian Mine Action Authority to continue to coordinate with relevant sides on why they are taking so long because we asked for permission to reopen the museum faster,” he said.

“I have contacted ministers, including Justice Minister Ang Vong Vathana, and was made to understand that they are working on the issue, so I hope that the museum will reopen soon,” he added. “We also thank the Siem Reap provincial court for its cooperation and urge it to speed up the process for the museum to reopen soon.”

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