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Judge Orders Reinvestigation in Bomb Plot Case

Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Wednesday ordered a reinvestigation of five bombing suspects, citing incomplete evidence by investigating judges.

The five suspects—Som Ek, 49; Loek Bun Nhien, 48; Hy Savoeung, 49; Poa Vannara, 59; and Chea Kimyan, 45—have undergone three hearings since Nov. 25.

They were arrested in January, following the discovery of two explosive devices outside of government buildings and were later additionally charged for detonating a device at the Vietnamese Friendship Monument in 2007.

The men are charged with forming a militant wing of a political movement, called the Tiger Head, “to plant bombs in order to create unrest and to oppose the government,” Phnom Penh prosecutor Hoeung Bunchea told the court Tuesday.

Phnom Penh judge Chay Kong ordered further investigation at Wednesday’s hearing, where all five suspects were present. No re-trial date was given.

Sam Sok Kong, defense for Sam Ek, called on the court to “speed up its reinvestigation and to open a case hearing as soon as possible.”

The court order showed a “weakness” in the investigation’s case, he said. “The investigation of the case has had one year. Why did the court announce that the case does not have enough evidence against the suspects?”

Defense for the suspects contend they had collaborated to form a political movement, called the Cambodian United Front, and had not engaged in military action.

Sam Sok Kong said Wednesday the case against his client was aimed against “the freedom to establish a political party.”