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US Trial Delayed for Cambodian Freedom Fighter President

The trial date for accused Cambodian Freedom Fighter Chhun Yasith has been delayed, a US court official said Tuesday, a day proceedings had been scheduled to begin.

The trial is now scheduled to be held early next year, said a spokesman for the Department of Justice in California, where Chhun Yasith faces federal charges of inciting a Cambodian coup in November 2000 and tax fraud in the US.

The coup charges stem from 90 minutes of violence on Nov. 24, 2000 between forces claiming to be members of the Cambodian Freedom Fighters and government troops that led to the deaths of at least four men.

The tax charges assert that Chhun Yasith, a Long Beach accountant, and wife Sras Pech bilked fraudulent tax returns from the federal government using information from Cambodian immigrants.

A police official in Phnom Penh told VOA Khmer Tuesday a delegation of witnesses against Chhun Yasith had prepared for trial in October, but had been told by US federal officers they would not be needed until later in the year.