A provincial election observer has been in hiding for nearly
a week, fearing arrest after an argument with a relative of a ruling party village chief
in Kampot province.
Police say they are seeking the arrest of Chea Som Borun,
25, an observer for the Neutral and Impartial Committee for Free and Fair
Elections and the son of a Sam Rainsy Party activist, for assault.
Human rights officials say the threat of his arrest is
Police allege Chea Som Borun struck Phan Sophear, the
relative of a Cambodian People's Party village chief, in an altercation the
night before the national election.
Witnesses told the human rights group Licahdo Phan Sophear
was not hurt.
"If Chea Som Borun is arrested, it will only further
highlight the level of intimidation surrounding these elections and the
continuing misuse of the courts for political reasons by the government,"
Licadho Director Naly Pilorge said in a statement.
Hang Puthea, executive directior of Nicfec, said Chea Som
Borun he was seeking to find a way to bring him out of hiding without arrest.
Chea Som Borun's father has asked other villagers to file a
complaint against their village chief over an alleged land sale. This may be
one reason Chea Som Borun was threatened with his arrest, Chea Pov, his father,
The case was not related to politics, but Chea Som Borun was
being sought for assault, Tem Savuth, police chief of Ponhea Leu district,
Om Sam Arth, an investigator for the rights group Licadho,
said the argument came a day before the election and stemmed from politics.