Cambodia

Appeals Court Picks Up Shooting Case Against Former Bavet Governor

Three women who were injured in a shooting at a garment worker strike earlier last year say they have not received justice from the court and are demanding action, file photo. Three women who were injured in a shooting at a garment worker strike earlier last year say they have not received justice from the court and are demanding action, file photo.
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Three women who were injured in a shooting at a garment worker strike earlier last year say they have not received justice from the court and are demanding action, file photo.
Three women who were injured in a shooting at a garment worker strike earlier last year say they have not received justice from the court and are demanding action, file photo.
Heng ReaksmeyVOA Khmer
PHNOM PENH - The Cambodian Court of Appeals held a hearing Wednesday in a case against a former city governor accused of shooting into a group of demonstrators, injuring three, last year.

Chhouk Bandith, the former governor of Bavet town, Svay Rieng Province, is being charged in the shooting.

Rights workers say he was not prosecuted by a lower court because of his powerful government connections. He was removed from his post following the February 2011 shooting incident.

Three women were injured after Chhouk Bandith allegedly fired shots into a demonstration of around 1,000 workers who were demanding better conditions and pay at a factory in the province.

Ouk Sawuth, prosecutor for the Appeals Court, filed for the court to take up the case, after the Svay Rieng court dropped the charges.

Chhouk Bandith appeared at the hearing, alongside the three victims, in a closed-door session in Phnom Penh on Wednesday.

Appeals Court judge Khun Leang Meng told VOA Khmer after the hearing that he questioned the accused and the three witnesses about the shooting.

Chhouk Bandith declined to comment following the hearing. “Wait for the result of the court and you will see,” he told reporters.

Keo Near, 19, who was injured in the Feb. 20, 2011, shooting, told reporters that Chhouk Bandith denied shooting at demonstrators. But she said there were many witnesses who say he did the shooting.

“If he does not receive punishment by the law, some day he will commit the same act again,” she said.

Long Phorn, a policeman and witness, told reporters he had seen Chhouk Bandith fire at workers from where he was standing. “I saw Chhouk Bandith take his gun and  open fire on the workers directly, not shooting in the air,” he said.

Meanwhile, outside the court, a group of demonstrators gathered calling for a guilty verdict in the case.

The court will continue the hearing on Thursday.
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Yearlong Political Deadlock Endsi
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22 July 2014
Cambodia’s political deadlock has ended. For nearly a year, the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party has refused to join the government, calling for electoral reforms in a system it says was deeply flawed. Following nearly five hours of meetings between top opposition officials and Prime Minister Hun Sen, that deadlock has ended. The two sides finally reached agreement on a formula for selecting the National Election Committee, which the Rescue Party has said was biased toward the ruling Cambodian People’s Party. Hun Sen and Rescue Party President Sam Rainsy emerged from talks Tuesday smiling and shaking hands. “Victory,” Hun Sen told reporters after the meeting. “You can all applaud.” (Heng Reaksmey, Phnom Penh)

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