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Evictee Rep Gets Three Years for Assault

A former representative of the displaced poor from a Phnom Penh development was sentenced to three years in prison Monday for assault, defamation and forgery, following a dispute with a village chief.

Lor Seiha, 42, was accused of beating village chief Seoung Yiko, 60, as well as forging the names of complainants in the eviction of Dei Krahorm village, in the Chamkarmon district on the Tonle Bassac river.

Lawyers for Lor Seiha said during his hearing, which was held Aug. 14, the letter was a legitimate complaint signed by 33 residents. They also denied Lor Seiha had assaulted the village chief or her daughter.

Phnom Penh Municipal Judge Ka Sakhorn handed down the sentence of three years, starting from the time of his arrest, in July, as well as a fine for 1 million riel, about $250.

The charges stem from Lor Seiha's role as a representative of 970 Dei Krahorm families. In April 2006, the city government ordered 1,465 families to leave Dei Krahorm, to be resettled in Dangkao district, on the outskirts of Phnom Penh. The order was to make way for a development by the 7NG company, but many residents refused to move, leading to disputes between local representatives and the company.

Seoung Yiko claimed in her complaint she and her daughter were attacked by Lor Seiha. She also claimed Lor Seiha defamed her by accusing her of corruption in her dealings with 7NG. Seoung Yiko also claimed Lor Seiha forged a letter opposing the city's eviction plan.