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Human Rights Investigator Goes Into Hiding

An investigator for the Cambodian Center for Human Rights was in hiding Monday for fear that he would be arrested on charges of creating an illegal secessionist movement in Sihanoukville.

Sihanoukville Governor Say Hak filed a suit against the investigator, Chin Savuth, and five others, accusing them of starting an illegal force.

Chin Savuth, who denies the charges, fled the town. He'll stay in hiding until the issue is resolved, he told VOA Khmer by phone.

"They charge me of forming an autonomous secession region from the government," he said. "This charge is more than my capacity. For what I am, I cannot do anything to that capacity. I am not capable of doing that."

Sihanoukville court prosecutor Meas Sopheak declined to comment.

Say Hak could not be reached for comment but his accusations follow the violent eviction of villagers from Mittapheap commune on April 20.

CCHR Director Ou Vireak called the charges "groundless.

" I see this as a step to threaten human rights activists and a violation on the people's rights," Ou Vireak said.