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Cambodia: Fear for safety: Srun Vong Vannak

, Index number: ASA 23/002/1997

There are fears for the safety of Srun Vong Vannak, chief of security of the opposition Khmer Nation Party (KNP), who is being held in incommunicado detention at an unknown location. He was reportedly arrested on 14 February 1997 on suspicion of involvement in the murder of Kov Samuth, the brother-in-law of Second Prime Minister Hun Sen, in November 1996. All attempts by his family, lawyers and human rights workers to gain access to him have been prevented by the authorities.

EXTERNAL AI Index: ASA 23/02/97
UA 65/97 Fear for safety 11 March 1997
KINGDOM OF CAMBODIASrun Vong Vannak
Srun Vong Vannak, chief of security of the opposition Khmer Nation Party (KNP),
is being held in incommunicado detention at an unknown location. Amnesty
International fears for his safety.
Srun Vong Vannak was arrested on 14 February 1997, after leaving the KNP office
in the capital Phnom Penh at 10am. Since that time his family has not been
able to find him and attempts by lawyers and human rights workers to gain access
to him at the usual detention facilities in Phnom Penh have been prevented
by the authorities.
On 3 March, journalists who had gathered at the Phnom Penh Court to cover a
particular court case, happened to see Srun Vong Vannak, surrounded by a group
of police officers. It is believed that he had been brought to court that
day for an initial hearing. However, no one has seen him since.
According to the information available, Srun Vong Vannak was arrested on
suspicion of involvement in the murder of Kov Samuth, the brother-in-law of
Second Prime Minister Hun Sen, in November 1996. A document apparently from
the Phnom Penh Municipal Police states that after his arrest, Srun Vong Vannak
initially confessed to involvement in the killing, but later withdrew the
confession.
BACKGROUND INFORMATION
Although officially still unrecognised, the KNP is the main opposition party
in Cambodia. There are serious political tensions in the country at the present
time, with very poor relations between government and opposition, and also
between the two major parties in the coalition government, which have resulted
in violence in recent weeks. Relations between the KNP and the Cambodian
People’s Party (CPP), led by second Prime Minister Hun Sen, are particularly
poor. Police and security forces in Cambodia tend to have an affiliation to
one of the major political parties, and the judicial system is not independent.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams/faxes/express/airmail letters in
French, English or your own language:
- requesting information as to the health and whereabouts of Srun Vong Vannak,
arrested in Phnom Penh on 14 February 1997;
- calling on the Cambodian authorities to uphold his rights in detention, as
guaranteed in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights to which
Cambodia is a party;
- in particular, calling for Srun Vong Vannak to be given access to his family
and a lawyer of his choice.
APPEALS TO:
Samdech Krompreah Norodom Ranariddh
First Prime Minister
Office of the Council of Ministers
Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Telegrams: HRH Norodom Ranariddh, Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Faxes: + 855 234 26054
Salutation: Your Royal Highness
2
His Excellency Hun Sen
Second Prime Minister
Office of the Council of Ministers
Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Telegrams: HE Hun Sen, Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Salutation: Your Excellency
His Excellency Sar Kheng
Minster of Interior
Office of the Council of Ministers
Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Telegrams: HE Sar Kheng, Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Salutation: Your Excellency
Chem Snguon
Minister of Justice
Office of the Council of Ministers
Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Telegrams: Chem Snguon, Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Salutation: Dear Minister
COPIES TO: diplomatic representatives of Cambodia accredited to your country.
PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY. Check with the International Secretariat,
or your section office, if sending appeals after 28 April 1997.

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