Sunday, 6 December 2009

Uighurs flee China, seek asylum in Cambodia - exile group

Ethnic Uighurs and Han Chinese Muslims pray together during Friday prayers at Yang Hang mosque in the city of Urumqi in China's Xinjiang Autonomous Region July 17, 2009. REUTERS/David Gray

Sun Dec 6, 2009

(Posted by CAAI News Media)

BEIJING (Reuters) - A group of Uighurs who have fled China are seeking asylum through the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, an overseas activist group said, adding that other would-be refugees had been captured while fleeing China after ethnic riots in their homeland in July.

Two of the 22 Uighurs who sought asylum through the UNHCR offices in Phnom Penh say they witnessed security forces killing and beating Uighur demonstrators in the far western city of Urumqi on July 5, the Uighur American Association said.

On that day, demonstrations in Urumqi by Uighurs protesting fatal attacks on Uighur workers in South China turned into a violent rampage in which 197 people, mostly Han Chinese, died. Han Chinese crowds launched revenge attacks against Uighur neighbourhoods two days later.

On Friday, a court in Urumqi condemned to death a Uighur man and woman on charges of murder during the July 5 riot, as well as a Han Chinese man for killing three people during the counter-attacks two days later, bringing to 17 the number of people sentenced to death after the riots.

Uighurs are a Muslim, Turkic speaking ethnic group native to Xinjiang, many of whom chafe under Chinese rule.

In addition to the 22 Uighurs who made it to Phnom Penh, the exile group said two others were stopped by police when trying to cross from Vietnam to Cambodia. It said 31 Uighurs were detained in central and southern China for trying to flee or helping others to do so, while another five who tried to enter Vietnam in October are unaccounted for.

Refugees who flee China face a dangerous crossing over the mountainous borders, and risk repatriation while they are still in neighbouring countries.

In October an ethnic Mongolian school principal, Batzangaa, was abruptly brought back to China by Chinese police while he and his family were appealing the UNHCR's initial rejection of their refugee application in Ulan Bator. He is still in detention.

Canadian diplomats have been unable despite repeated protests to get consular access to Huseyin Celil, a Uighur refugee with Canadian citizenship deported back to China while visiting relatives in Uzbekistan. He has been jailed in China since 2006.

(Reporting by Lucy Hornby; Editing by Jerry Norton)

The Government Decided to Provide Ownership Rights in Co-Owned Buildings also to Foreigners – Saturday, 5.12.2009

Posted on 6 December 2009
The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 641

(Posted by CAAI News Media)

“In the morning of 4 December 2009, the Royal Government of Cambodia approved a draft about the provision of ownership rights in co-owned buildings ['condominiums'] also to foreigners, based on a draft by the Ministry of Land Management and Urbanization in consultation with the Ministry of Justice.

“According to an announcement from the Council of Ministers, the above draft consists of 8 chapters and 24 articles, and it responds to the Royal Government’s policy to attract investors, as well as to facilitate the growth of the real estate market, and to boost development to reduce poverty.

“At the same time, the cabinet meeting approved also the draft, comprising of 6 chapters and 13 articles, for a royal decree about the creation of a national maritime security committee.

“The national maritime security committee is to be used as an instrument on the national level to regulate, manage, and strengthen maritime security. It will also be the focal point for the coordination and cooperation between other relevant authorities, to strengthen the effective management and integration of different services for the sake of our nation, and for the expansion of cooperation with foreign countries.

“The announcement went on to say that during the cabinet meeting, also the draft for a royal decree about the formation of a secretariat for the National Council for Children, and its operation, was approved.

“Based on 15 years experience, and considering the changed conditions in the country because of developments in all sectors, and also of other problems challenging children, the National Council for Children must make change to its assigned structure in order to uplift the quality of this social sector, and to prove that the Royal Government cares about the living conditions to ensure the four rights [?] of Cambodian children, as well as to protect them.

“During the meeting, an agreement about an ASEAN commerce for the preparation of an ASEAN free trade zones, and an ASEAN treaty about combating terrorism were approved to be sent to the legislative body for ratification.”

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #354, 5.12.2009
Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Saturday, 5 December 2009

Cambodia's first war crimes trial marred by flaws

People arrive for the trial of Comrade Duch, head of the Khmer Rouge prison where 15,000 were slain. About 4,500 people attended watched the proceedings at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia, as the war crimes tribunal is officially known. (Mak Remissa / European Pressphoto Agency / November 27, 2009)

The trial of Khmer Rouge prison commander Comrade Duch underscores the difficulties of such an endeavor in a country with a reputation for corruption and a compromised judiciary.

By Brendan Brady
December 6, 2009

(Posted by CAAI News Media)

Reporting from Phnom Penh, Cambodia - The scene at the untidy conclusion of Cambodia's first war crimes trial was telling: a French defense lawyer with his face buried in his hands.

The tribunal promised a more inclusive approach than its counterparts at the International Criminal Court at The Hague. Instead, the trial closed in disarray late last month after an eleventh-hour disagreement between the Cambodian and foreign defense counsels, offering a stark reminder of the difficulties in carrying out international standards of justice in a country with a reputation for corruption and a deeply compromised legal system.

Kang Kek Ieu, referred to as Kaing Guek Eav in tribunal filings, but better known by his revolutionary alias, Comrade Duch, ran the infamous prison where 15,000 supposed enemies of the revolution were tortured before being executed in the nearby "killing fields."

Despite his seeming enthusiasm for the job at the notorious S-21 prison, Duch argued that he and his family would have been killed had he not carried out his superiors' orders.

For nine months, French lawyer Francois Roux crafted a defense strategy of admission and apology that implied the team would seek a lenient sentence. But in the trial's final moments, Duch and his Cambodian lawyer, Kar Savuth, broke with this posture, disputing the legitimacy of the court and calling for Duch's immediate release.

Roux's head-in-hands reaction underlined the rifts in this complex tribunal, a tenuous coalition of domestic and international judges, lawyers and administrators.

Speaking to journalists, Roux even hinted that his colleague's move was motivated by political pressure. Many members of the current government were Khmer Rouge cadres and remain opposed to the tribunal, which is trying the architects of the group's fanatical rule in the late 1970s, during which an estimated 1.7 million Cambodians were slain or died from overwork or starvation.

Over the last two years, claims of governmental interference and kickbacks have underscored the disadvantages of holding the tribunal in Cambodia.

The difficult negotiations to bring former Khmer Rouge leaders to justice started in 1997. By 2003, then-U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan said the extreme politicization of Cambodia's judiciary required that the tribunal be held outside the Cambodian system.

But after long negotiations, the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia was developed as a locally housed tribunal running largely under local laws, with the United Nations as a minor partner.

"No one in the U.N. or elsewhere will ever copy the Cambodian model," said Brad Adams, Asia head of Human Rights Watch. "It's the lowest standard the United Nations has been willing to go."

The most detrimental compromise in the tribunal's composition, Adams said, was a requirement that the prosecution and investigating judges seek approval from the Cambodian side of the court to conduct research, summon testimony and expand the docket.

"The Cambodian side has interpreted it as the international side shouldn't do anything without their permission," he said.

Adams said the Special Court for Sierra Leone, set up in 2002 to address war crimes committed during the country's civil war, has been more effective because the U.N. holds a majority on the judicial panel and has independent powers of investigation.

The U.N.'s current main body for prosecuting war criminals, the International Criminal Court, was established in 2002 in part to provide a permanent tribunal that is independent and financially secure.

Ex-Khmer Rouge leaders, however, don't fall under the court's jurisdiction because it can investigate only crimes committed after its founding.

"The hope with establishing the ICC was that it would obviate the need for ad hoc courts," said Beth Van Schaack, a law professor at Santa Clara University who attended the hearings. "They're expensive, time-consuming and require negotiations with governments."

But many hoped the tribunal would promote reconciliation and healing.

Had the hearings been held abroad, Van Schaack said, the 4,500 Cambodians who attended in the last week would have had to watch it on television or not followed it all.

The trial of the other four, more senior, Khmer Rouge leaders in detention is not expected to start until 2011. They are believed to be the masterminds of the vision to forge an agrarian utopia by abolishing religion, money and schools and forcing most of the population onto collective farms.

Prosecutors have doubted the sincerity of Duch's cooperation and have asked for a 40-year prison sentence. The judges are expected to deliver a ruling in March. The maximum penalty is life imprisonment.

"No one is happy about his request to be freed; in fact, most people want him killed," said Chum Mey, one of only a few people to survive Duch's prison, and now a civil party participant in the trial.

But despite the bitter insult of Duch's about-face, Chum said, the anger that once consumed him from memories of being horse-whipped and given electrical shocks has been released by his contact with the tribunal.

"After coming here, I feel very relieved to be able to see this process," he said. "Until they come to the tribunal to see it themselves, I think the pain for many Cambodians will never go away."

Brady is a special correspondent.

Cambodian military visits Gowen Field

by Ysabel Bilbao

Idaho's NewsChannel 7
December 5, 2009

(Posted by CAAI News Media)

BOISE -- A foreign military from the Kingdom of Cambodia is in Boise Saturday.

Their military mission is to learn about the Army and Air National Guards.

Four months ago, the Idaho National Guard formally entered a partnership with the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces.

There are similar programs around the country that are forming military partnerships and civil cooperation.

Dressed in their military fatigues, the Major General for the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces and his military personnel greeted members of our local national guard.

Idaho's military has made several trips to the Pacific to meet with this military group, but this is the Cambodians’ first time on American soil.

"It gives the Cambodian Armed Forces and the kingdom of Cambodia the opportunity to develop their economic, civic and military competencies through a partnership with not only the National Guard, but the State of Idaho," said Col. Tim Kelly with the Idaho Army National Guard.

The State Partnership Program has been developed with all 50 states and U.S. territories.

It was started in 1993 and provides a unique opportunity to help with security in the Pacific Region.

"What they are doing here specifically is looking at our maintenance operations for wheeled vehicles,” Kelly said. “Through the military foreign sales program, they have received a set of vehicles that the U.S. Forces used to use. And so they are looking at how they can better maintain and operate the vehicles."

"We are quite interest(ed) to learn much more about the National Guard,” said Major General Phat Vibolsopheak of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces. “As well as we wanted to see the culture of Idaho and to learn more and hopefully we can work together in partnership."

The group of ten will spend the week at Gowen Field meeting with the Idaho Army and Air National Guards and the Bureau of Homeland Security.

Both sides look forward to the visit and what they can learn and use on their own military bases.

"We get a friend in the Kingdom of Cambodia,” Kelly said. “We get to help, at a national level, provide for the security in the Pacific region."

"It will be a good trip," Vibolsopheak said.

The Republic of Singapore's Air Force is currently working with the Mountain Home Air Force Base.

A partnership between our nation and theirs will span at least the next 20 years.

The Cambodian Military will only be here for a few days, unlike the 250 active duty Singaporeans and their families who will be living in Mountain Home.

Gov´t Agrees Foreigners Can Own Property

Saturday, 05 December 2009 05:01 DAP-NEWS

(Posted by CAAI News Media)

The Cambodian Government on Friday agreed a sub-decree to allow foreigners to own some properties in Camb- odia. The new law was prepared by the Ministry of Land Management Urban Planning & Construction with consulting by Justice Ministry, according to a Friday release of Council for Ministers.

The agreement was made during a Council of Ministers meeting at the Foreign Affair Ministry presided over by Prime Minister Hun Sen.

“The sub-decree consists of 8 Chapters, and 24 Articles, and is aimed at responding to the government’s policy in attracting foreign investors as well as to compromise with increasing markets, immovable property and to urge development, reducing poverty,” the press release added.

Meanwhile, the CoM meeting adopted and supported a sub-decree on sea, air security committee establishment, consisting of 6 chapters, and 13 articles.

The committee newly formed under the sub-decree will apparently help ensure sea and air security through cooperation with related police.

The government also agreed to adopt a decree on National Consultant Group of Cambodia for Children and sub-decree on preparing and inspector’s headquarter-general’s performance of the national consultant for children, the press release said.

The meeting agreed to submit the agreement on ASEAN trade for freedom ASEAN trade and an ASEAN treaty to fight terrorism to future debate.

Jailed Thai Spy not Seeking Bail: Lawyer

Saturday, 05 December 2009 05:00 DAP-NEWS

(Posted by CAAI News Media)

Phnom Penh Municipal Court annou- nced on Friday afternoon that Sirawak Chutipong, 31, an employee of Cambodia Air Traffic Services (CATS) arrested by Cambodian police on November 12, has not sought bail.

Ke Sakhon, presiding Phnom Phen court judge, said that, through his new lawyer, Sirawak has not asked to bail for his case. But he is waiting for the next court date on December 8, Ke added.

He asked to withdraw the bail forms from the court, Khieu Sambo, his new layer told the court. Siwarak Chutipong, arrested by Cambodian police November 12 on charges of passing information on the flight details of fugitive ousted Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra to Thai diplomats. Siwarak has been detained at Preysar prison since then.

Gang Arrested in a Lexus Robbers nabbed after US$30,000 Heist

Saturday, 05 December 2009 05:00 DAP-NEWS

(Posted by CAAI News Media)

Daun Penh police on Friday arrested four members of a criminal gang after a daring robbery that netted US$30,000 from a jewelry market near the Pochentong International Airport.

The men were nabbed around Wat Phnom at 11:30 am, a police source said. “We arrested them, but unfortunately one got away.”

Nop Chantha, 29, an ex-soldier from Brigade 70, Khim Kheon, 46, a soldier, Kheon’s unnamed wife, 30, a vendor, and Chourp Son, 36, were taken into custody DAP News Cambodia has learned.

A Lexus Rx 300 car, a K59 handgun and some mobile phones were taken from the scene, Daun Penh Police Chief Nhem Saonol said.

The team has committed many robberies in Dangkor and in other areas in Phnom Penh, Saonol added.

“They must answer to the local authorities because we will find their members,” he stressed.

A gang member admitted that “We are a robbery gang who robbed jewelry vendors and cars.”
Local police have filed the case to court.

Cambodia Creates Committee for Village Development

Saturday, 05 December 2009 04:58 DAP-NEWS

(Posted by CAAI News Media)

The Cambodian government will set up a committee of village development to improve villages across the country and provide power to the sub-national level to decide development policy for villages locally, an official said on Friday.

“We already handed over that draft regulation to the Council of Ministers to review and decide upon it before it comes into force,” an anonymous senior Justice Ministry official told DAP News Cambodia. “After we have discussed with all involving partners, we all agreed on that draft regulation and the Council of Ministers’ work on this draft regulation,” he said.

“The development donor and civil organizations will join in hands with the government to implement this development projects … and finance will come from all sides and the local people in the communities have to raise the main priorities to develop their communities.”

“All villages across the country will get fund for the development projects and the sub national level play a key to develop their areas,” he added.

In 1998 there were a total of 1,609 communes and 13,406 villages in Cambodia. However according to the 2008 census there are now 1,621 communes in Cambodia and 14,073 villages.

Vietnam and Cambodia have agreed to sign agreements

(Posted by CAAI News Media)

Phnom Penh, Dec 5 (VNA) – Vietnam and Cambodia have agreed to soon sign a number of agreements to further deepen their ties for the benefit of their people.

The agreements cover maritime transportation, cooperation in industry, mining and energy, criminal extradition, labour cooperation and legal support.

The accords were reached at the 11th meeting of the Vietnam-Cambodia Joint Committee for Economic, Cultural, and Scientific and Technological Cooperation in Cambodia’s Preah Sihanouk province on December 3-4.

Under the co-chairmanship of Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Gia Khiem and Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Hor Nam Hong, the officials also agreed to soon address changes in visa exemptions for holders of ordinary passports.

Additionally, they unanimously agreed to boost cooperation, help each other in developing human resources, and to facilitate trade and investment.

They reaffirmed that the two countries will work harder to raise bilateral trade to 2 billion USD in 2010.

The officials pledged to encourage businesspeople to enhance ties, deploy licensed projects more effectively, and expand investment in the areas of oil and gas production, mining, energy, telecommunications, aviation, finance, banking, crop cultivation, farm produce processing, fertilizer and animal feed production.

They vowed to boost cooperation in agriculture, transport and communication infrastructure development, healthcare, labour issues, culture, sports and physical training, and tourism in addition to speeding up border demarcation so as to complete the work prior to the end of 2012 as previously agreed.

At this meeting, pledges were made for pressing ahead with collaboration in security and defence and the fight against cross-border crimes and coordination within sub-regional cooperation frameworks.

Reviewing the results of the implementation of the agreements reached at the committee’s 10th meeting, Vietnamese and Cambodian officials said they were delighted with the development of their comprehensive ties, notably in economy, trade and investment.

The two countries’ defence and security cooperation has been intensified; security and stability in their shared border areas have been maintained, border demarcation and marker planting have been stepped up, and more attention has been paid to cooperation among localities, ministries and sectors, they noted.

The Joint Committee will convene its 12th meeting in Vietnam .

During his time in Cambodia , Khiem paid a courtesy visit to Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen and paid tribute to fallen Vietnamese volunteers in Cambodia at a monument in Preah Sihanouk province. (VNA)

Cambodia opens road building link to Thailand


(Posted by CAAI News Media)

PHNOM PENH, Dec. 5 (Xinhua) -- Cambodia's Prime Minister Hun Sen opened Saturday a road building link to the Thai border in northwestern Cambodia.

The 117-kilometer long National Road No. 68, which runs from Kralanh district in Siem Reap province to O' Smach in Udor Meanchey province, will be completed in two years time.

Hun Sen said the construction and restoration of the road which costs 33 million U.S. dollars will be fully financed by the Royal Government of Cambodia to respond to the people's actual needs, in spite of the current global financial and economic crisis.

Thailand signed an agreement with Cambodia in August this year to provide loans amounting to some 41 million U.S. dollars for building this road, but Cambodia canceled it late last month, and instead used its own funding.

Hun Sen said he had identified the area as an economic pole, among Cambodia's other poles, as it is favorable for agriculture and tourism development.

"Thus, after the construction of the National Road No. 68 has been completed, this area will become an important and real economic pole in Cambodia," Hun Sen said.

He added that his government is firmly committed to the restoration and development of all sectors, especially the restoration, maintenance and development of transportation infrastructure which is the prioritized policy of his new fourth-term government beginning from 2008 through 2013.

He said the efforts in building infrastructure apply to Cambodia's slogan that says "wherever there is road there will be hope."

He added that this road network is located on two main corridors that serve both national and international transport purpose from western to eastern part.

The first corridor is the northern sub-corridor of the first southern corridor of the Greater Mekong Sub-region which runs through Laos and heads to Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam.

Editor: Xiong Tong

Gen Chavalit confident Thai jailed in Cambodia to be freed next week

(Posted by CAAI News Media)

BANGKOK, Dec 5 (TNA) – The head of Thailand’s opposition, Gen Chavalit Yongchaiyudh, chairman of the opposition Puea Thai Party, said Saturday he is confident that the Thai engineer detained in Cambodia on spying charges will be freed after appearing at his first hearing next week.

Reiterating that his political party is not playing ‘political games’ as suggested by some critics, Gen Chavalit, a former prime minister, said Simarak Na Nakhon Panom, mother of jailed Thai national Siwarak Chutipong, believed that a trial would take a long time if a bail request is made.

The employee of Cambodia Air Traffic Services (CATS) was arrested by Cambodian police nearly a month ago on charges of passing information on the flight details of fugitive, ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra to Thai diplomats in Phnom Penh.

Mrs Simarak said she had decided to cancel her bail request plan as her son's new lawyer advised that the request will delay the case.

The mother also believes that if the Cambodian court finds her son guilty it would be better to seek a royal pardon from the Cambodian king and assistance is given by that government, Gen Chavalit said.

As Mr Siwarak will appear in court for his first hearing on Tuesday, Gen Chavalit said he is optimistic that there should be a “good news on December 9 or 10” and that the man should be released.

Criticism that the Puea Thai Party was behind the scene in the case as it has obtained a lot of information about the case, he said it would be bad if people’s hardships are being used as political ploy.

Gen Chavalit said his party is working behind the scene to help Thailand’s government agencies in helping secure the release of the man. (TNA)

Uighurs fleeing China find allies in Christian missionaries and their underground railway

Associated Press Writers
December 4, 2009

(Posted by CAAI News Media)

BEIJING (AP) — An underground network of Christian missionaries that usually works with North Korean refugees says it has helped smuggle nearly two dozen Muslim Uighurs out of China following last summer's deadly ethnic violence and the subsequent government crackdown.

It's the first time the Christian interfaith network has worked with a group of Uighurs, and it won't be the last, with more currently using the so-called underground railway to make their way out of the country and requests for assistance surging into the hundreds, missionaries said.

Long-simmering tensions between Turkic Uighurs and China's Han majority have increased since July's riots in the western region of Xinjiang. The Chinese government says the violence left nearly 200 people, mostly Han, dead.

A Chinese court sentenced three Uighurs to death Friday for their actions during the rioting, bringing to 17 the number of death sentences handed down over the violence. Overseas Uighur groups say Uighurs have been rounded up in mass detentions since the riots.

Some have turned to the "railway" for help, and one Macau-based missionary who is part of the network said they now have daily contact with major Uighur exile groups.

The network of sympathetic Chinese Christians shelter and guide people, usually North Koreans, as they cross China on their way to UN refugee offices abroad to seek asylum.

The first group of 22 Uighurs, who've been described by exile groups as witnesses to the rioting, made their way through China and Vietnam before arriving over the past few weeks in the Cambodian capital, where they have made contact with the UN refugee office and applied for political asylum.

However, they live in fear of being picked up and returned to China, which has close ties with Cambodia, Uighur groups said.

"China has a very big influence in Cambodia. So their life is in risk, I would say," said Ilshat Hassan, the U.S.-based director of interior affairs for the World Uyghur Congress.

A spokesman for China's Foreign Ministry asked that questions about the 22 Uighurs be sent in a fax, and offered no immediate response Friday. The Public Security Bureau in Xinjiang did not immediately respond to a faxed request.

Hassan said the group is the first large one to leave China after the riots. Two other Uighurs were arrested in Vietnam, he said, and he lost contact with another group of four.

A spokesman for Cambodia's Ministry of the Interior, Pol. Lt. Gen. Khieu Sopheak, said Friday that at least 16 Uighurs are staying at the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Phnom Penh. The office is the closest UNHCR office to China in Southeast Asia.

UNHCR's spokeswoman for Asia, Kitty McKinsey, said she could not discuss the case. "It's our policy everywhere in the world never to speak about individual asylum seekers or refugees," she said.

Cambodian government spokesman Khieu Kanharith said the government would consider carefully any repatriation request from China. He said Cambodia has the right to deny such a request if the people are considered political asylum seekers.

"But if they are purely criminal people and there is a request, we may deport them," he said.

It was unclear what role, if any, the 22 Uighurs played in the rioting. They could not be reached for comment Friday.

"They may have been involved in the protest July 5, but it is not clear at the moment," said Dilxat Raxit, a spokesman for the World Uyghur Congress.

Radio Free Asia reported Friday that two of the Uighurs told the UNHCR they watched the July violence unfold. One said he feared retribution for taking photos.

Hassan said the Uighurs still have photos of the riots and government response, but there were no immediate plans to make them public. "We want to get them first to a safe place," he said.

Overseas Uighur groups have been making more and more requests to use the railway, said the Rev. Marcus Ramsey of the Macau Interfaith Network, whose group collaborates with other missionary groups and helped the 22 Uighurs leave China.

Another Macau-based missionary, who didn't want to give his name because of concerns about official retribution, said the network had a few requests for help from Europe-based Uighur Christians before the July violence, but requests have since surged.

He dismissed the idea of possible tensions between the Muslim Uighurs and the Christian Chinese who help them cross China.

"This is what it means when they ask, 'What would Jesus do?'" he said.

Hassan did not want to talk about any involvement with the missionary network, saying only "some locals from the China side helped."

Now, however, China has tightened border controls and passing through Vietnam is no longer possible, he said.

The missionaries sounded more optimistic. "The first group took two months," the Macau-based missionary said, "but some things can be streamlined next year."


Associated Press Writers Sopheng Cheang in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, and Jocelyn Gecker in Bangkok contributed to this report.

SEA Games: Thailand Thrash Cambodia

The champions move towards the knockout stage...

Dec 5, 2009

(Posted by CAAI News Media)

A hat-trick from striker Sompong Soleb saw Thailand winning their first three points of the men’s football competition when they romped over Cambodia 4-0 at the Chao Anu Vong Stadium.

The Thais, who were denied the full points two days ago when they were held to a 1-1 draw by Vietnam in their opening Group A match, easily took a 3-0 lead at the break.

The physically stronger Thai side took the first goal of the game in the 19th minute when striker Sompong Soleb headed home from close range off a cross from Arthit Sunthornphit.

And just before the breather, Thailand struck a blitz with two quick goals - the first off a from striker Kirati Keawsombut while the second and Thailand’s third coming off Sompong who made good on a cross from Theerathon Bunmathon.

Just four minutes into the second half, Thailand made sure there was no way back for Cambodia when Sompong completed his hat-trick with the fourth goal with a well-taken grounder.

Alleged Thai Spy Denied Release on Bail

By Heng Reaksmey, VOA Khmer
Original report from Phnom Penh
04 December 2009

(Posted by CAAI News Media)

Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Friday ruled it would continue the detention of a Thai citizen accused of espionage, denying a written request he be released on bail.

Siwarak Chothipong, 31, was arrested on Nov. 12, after allegedly leaking a flight schedule of Prime Minister Hun Sen and his newly appointed economic adviser, ousted Thai premier Thaksin Shinawatra, to Thai officials in Phnom Penh.

Siwarak was charged with spying, a crime that carries a sentence of up to 15 years. He did not appear at his hearing Friday.

Thai officials have called the charges “malicious” and claim Sirawak was framed.

Siwarak, an employee of the Thai-owner Cambodia Air Traffic Services, which handles Cambodia’s flight traffic, has become a focal point in a diplomatic row between the two neighbors.

The disagreement over Thaksin’s appointment as Hun Sen’s economic adviser has led to the ejection of diplomats from the capitals of each country and the annulment of development loans.

Thaksin is wanted in Thailand on corruption charges, following his ouster in a bloodless coup in 2006.

Hun Sen said he would not honor Thai requests to extradite Thaksin, whose case he said was political, angering Bangkok and increasing the diplomatic tension between the two countries, which have troops amassed on each side of a contested border in Preah Vihear province.

Uyghurs Could Get Asylum


(Posted by CAAI news Media)

Cambodian authorities say they won't repatriate a group of asylum-seekers if they could be mistreated.

A Uyghur man walks past armed Chinese security forces in Urumqi, July 17, 2009.

PHNOM PENH—Cambodia may not repatriate a group of asylum-seekers if they are to face capital punishment or torture back in China, a Cambodian spokesman said.

Khieu Kanharith, government spokesman and minister of information, said in an interview that the fate of the 22 ethnic Uyghurs hinges on whether and how the Chinese government intends to punish them in connction with deadly ethnic riots in July.

“There are several issues [to consider],” Khieu Kanharith said.

“For a criminal issue we would send them back. But for a political issue we would consider differently,” he said. “For a criminal issue, if it is serious to the point that they would have to be executed, we might not send them back because we don’t have capital punishment [in Cambodia],” he said.

The minister said that no decision had been made because the Cambodian government has yet to be contacted by the Chinese Embassy.

Smuggled into Cambodia

Twenty-two Uyghurs—a predominantly Muslim minority concentrated in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR)—have sought protection from the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in the Cambodian capital, Phnom Penh, according to Uyghur sources in Asia, who asked not be to named.

The Uyghurs are currently in the care of international Catholic organization the Jesuit Refugee Service, which declined to comment on the status of the group.

They fear being returned to China, which has close ties with Cambodia, Uyghur sources said.

This group, which includes two young children, was smuggled across the border from Vietnam into Cambodia, they said.

Only four members of the asylum-seekers agreed to be named.

They are Mutellip Mamut, who was born on July 10, 1980, Islam Urayim, born July 16, 1980, Hazirti ali Umar, born June 7, 1990, and Aikebaierjiang Tuniyazi, born Feb. 13, 1982.

Seeking asylum

The UNHCR has no offices in Vietnam, so anyone seeking asylum as a refugee must find a way into Cambodia, where it does operate.

UNHCR and Cambodian officials in Phnom Penh declined to comment on the case, although it has been learned that the UNHCR has met with the Uyghurs several times in small groups.

Repeated calls to the U.S. Embassy during working hours went unanswered.

According to a statement by the Munich-based World Uyghur Congress, exiled Uyghur leader Rebiya Kadeer and the organization’s general secretary Dolkun Isa are to meet officials at UNHCR headquarters in Geneva to discuss the Uyghur case in Cambodia.

Beijing accuses Kadeer of fomenting the July 5 violence in the XUAR capital, Urumqi, which was sparked after a peaceful protest about the deaths of Uyghur migrants in a factory in southern China turned into clashes with police.

Kadeer has accused the authorities of firing on unarmed protesters in Urumqi, sparking days of retaliatory rioting, burning, and mob violence from both Uyghur and Han Chinese ethnic groups in the city.

Uyghur detentions

Clashes first erupted between Han Chinese and ethnic Uyghurs on July 5, and at least 200 people were killed, by the government’s tally.

According to Uyghur sources in Asia, China has tightened its southeastern border after several groups of Uyghurs managed to bribe their way into Vietnam and then Cambodia to avoid possible detention for allegedly taking part in July 5 ethnic riots.

The sources said Chinese authorities have detained 31 Uyghurs since Sept. 15 in the southern cities of Shenzhen and Guangzhou and in the central city of Kunming, either for trying to flee the country or for allegedly aiding others in fleeing China.

A Chinese court sentenced three Uyghurs to death Friday for their alleged involvement during the rioting, bringing the number of death sentences in connection with the incident to 17.

New York-based Human Rights Watch said it has documented the disappearances of 43 men and boys in the Xinjiang region, but that the actual number of disappearances is likely far higher.

Police have meanwhile detained more than 700 people in connection with the unrest, according to earlier state news reports.

Uyghurs, a distinct and mostly Muslim ethnic group, have long complained of religious, political, and cultural oppression by Chinese authorities, and tensions have simmered in the Xinjiang region for years.

Original reporting by Chea Sotheacheat, Vuthy Huot and Chung Ravuth for RFA’s Khmer service. Khmer service director: Sos Kem. Translated by Sos Kem. Additional reporting by RFA's Uyghur service. Uyghur service director: Dolkun Kamberi. Written for the Web in English by Joshua Lipes. Edited by Sarah Jackson-Han.