Opposition Commune Official Arrested in Kandal

Clearly a political case, just barely 10 days after the local elections.

Local governance program run by the ministry of interior with support from international donors must look into the real quality of the program which must include how elected commune councilors can function without facing being charged and arrested with no valid evidence.

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Opposition Commune Official Arrested in Kandal

Heng Reaksmey, VOA Khmer | Phnom Penh

Meas Peng was elected as a deputy chief of Banteay Dek commune in last weeks election. Photo: AP

Why have they arrested my father, who helps villagers?

An opposition party commune councilor was arrested near his home in Kandal province Tuesday morning, accused of inciting violence among residents in a local land dispute last year.

Meas Peng was escorted by four armed police into a waiting vehicle and taken to provincial facilities, where he is accused of inciting violence amongst residents embroiled in a land dispute with a local official in Kien Svay district.

Sam Rainsy Party officials said he was being arrested because of his politics and called for his immediate release. Meas Peng was elected as a deputy chief of Banteay Dek commune in last weeks election.

Meas Peng was not involved with the land issue, because hes always lived at his home, said Eng Chhay Eng, an SRP senator. He questioned the timing of the arrest, just after commune elections last week.

However, Kandal judge Lim Sokuntha said the arrest followed his decision and detention order and had been in accordance with the law.

He said he had ordered Meas Pengs detention in September 2011, after which another opposition party member, Chan Cheng, was accused of helping him flee custody. Chan Cheng, who had his parliamentary immunity revoked after the incident, has denied he abetted an escape.

Chan Cheng and his attorney declined to comment on Tuesday. Chan Saveth, an investigator for the rights group Adhoc, said Meas Pengs arrest included some irregularities that the group would follow up on.

Meas Pengs daughter, Meas Mara, 25, said her father was innocent of inciting violence. The land grabbers, why have the authorities not arrested them? she said. Why have they arrested my father, who helps villagers?

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