A court suit alleging the detention for ransom of villagers
by local officials from the Ministry of Environment has seen little progress in
the past week, officials said Monday.
Villagers claim Kratie provincial court officials have taken
no action in a lawsuit they filed earlier this month, but the fault lies with
the villagers and defendants alike, a court official said.
The court has summoned the villagers who filed the suit, as
well as the defendants, but none has appeared, said court prosecutor Mork
Representatives of 54 families filed a lawsuit on June 20,
alleging the kidnapping of six people and the destruction of nine houses.
Villagers allege they paid between $200 to $500 per person to secure the
release of the detainees, according to court documents.
Representatives of the 17 accused officials have denied the
claims of kidnapping, saying the villagers live on protected forest land.
Villagers said Monday the Environment officials were still
detaining people and demanding ransom.