Missing Monk To Face Trial In Vietnamt
- From: hai lua <hai-lua@xxxxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Tue, 07 Aug 2007 10:10:52 -0400
By Yun Samean
The Cambodia Daily, Friday, August 3, 2007.
Defrocked Khmer Krom monk Tim Sakhorn, who went missing a month ago,
has resurfaced in Vietnam where he is to go on trial for political
crimes, the Vietnamese Embassy said Thursday.
Cambodian officials early last month announced that Tim Sakhorn, chief
of Phnom Den pagoda in Takeo province?s Kiri Vong district, had
consented to being sent to Vietnam on June 30, the same day he was
defrocked for allegedly damaging relations with Vietnam.
Human rights groups had claimed that Tim Sakhorn was abducted.
Vietnamese Embassy spokesman Trinh Ba Cam said Thursday that Tim
Sakhorn was being held in the Vietnamese border province of An Giang
and would soon be tried.
"Tim Sakhorn is being provisionally detained by a Vietnamese law
enforcement unit pending prosecution under the destruction of
political solidarity law," he said, adding that he was unaware how
long the detention would last.
Trinh Ba Cam also said Tim Sakhorn was a Vietnamese national of Khmer
ethnicity, which gave Vietnam jurisdiction over him.
State-controlled Vietnamese media also reported this week that
Vietnamese authorities were holding Tim Sakhorn.
Vietnam?s daily Thanh Nien newspaper claimed Thursday that Tim Sakhorn
was a native of An Giang province and had been arrested while
illegally trying to enter Vietnam and charged with undermining
Trinh Ba Cam also claimed that Tim Sakhorn had confessed to assisting
the US-based Khmer Kampuchea Krom Federation by providing documents
and newspaper articles to help incite anti-Vietnamese activities.
"Tim Sakhorn and other Khmer Kampuchea Krom who wear the Buddhist robe
always organize movements to stage demonstrations against Vietnam and
build networks in Cambodia to incite chaos," he added.
Thach Setha, executive director of the local Khmer Kampuchea Krom
Community, said the Cambodian government was now responsible for Tim
"The government has deported Tim Sakhorn to Vietnam for prosecution.
The authorities have abused the Constitution," Thach Setha said,
citing a Constitutional ban on deporting Cambodian citizens.
Thach Setha also denied that Tim Sakhorn had been involved in
"There is no evidence the monk established a movement. It is just an
exaggeration," he said.
Kek Galabru, president of rights group Licadho, agreed.
"Tim Sakhorn is a Cambodian citizen. He must be brought for
prosecution at a Cambodian court if he breached the law," she said.
Great Supreme Buddhist Patriarch Tep Vong and Supreme Buddhist
Patriarch Non Nget could not be reach for comment.
Tep Vong previously accused Tim Sakhorn of working against Buddhism
and last month released a handwritten in which Tim Sakhorn appears to
consent to being taken to Vietnam and also to thank Tep Vong for his
Interior Ministry spokesman Lieutenant General Khieu Sopheak declined
to discuss Tim Sakhorn?s fate.
"Authorities honored Tim Sakhorn?s request to go to his hometown," he
In a two-hour closedddoor meeting at the National Assembly on Thursday
morning, Interior Ministry Secretary of State Em Sam An and Chhay
Sinarith, director of the ministry?s General Information Department,
answered questions about Tim Sakhorn from SRP lawmaker Yim Sovann,
chair of the assembly?s commission on the interior.
Chhay Sinarith told reporters after the meeting that the commission
had requested an inquiry into Tim Sakhorn?s disappearance.
"We have reported to the commission and we received a request from the
commission to study the case and learn the whereabouts of Tim
Sakhorn," he said.
Yim Sovann said both Em Sam An and Chhay Sinarith had told him they
did not know what had become of Tim Sakhorn.
"The Ministry of Interior said they had no information," he said. "I
will continue to follow the case because the case has affected the
government?s reputation. It is a serious human rights violation."
Yim Sovann also said the speed with which authorities had arrested
suspects in Sunday?s failed bombing attempt at the Vietnam-Cambodia
Friendship Monument contrasted harshly with authorities? proclaimed
ignorance about Tim Sakhorn.
"In some complicated cases, authorities can find the suspects.
However, in this case, the Ministry of Interior has examined the case
slowly and has failed to investigate," he add.
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