26 August 2007 By Kim Pov Sottan – Radio Free Asia Translated from Khmer by Socheata of KI-Media The Khmer Kampuchea-Krom Federation (KKF) angrily condemned the Cambodian and Vietnamese governments on the violence and severe human rights violations perpetrated in both Cambodia and Vietnam. The urgent statement dated 24 August was issued after it was reported that oppression and more arrests and jailing of Khmer Krom people are currently being conducted in South Vietnam, and those arrested are accused of involvement with Monk Tim Skahorn, the former abbot of Phnom Den pagoda. Vietnam accused Monk Tim Sakhorn of paying people to protest and demonstrate against Vietnam. Thach Ngoc Thach, KKF President, said that his federation could not remain silent in this case. He said that KKF will bring their complaints to the international community next month. Thach Ngoc Thach said: “Venerable Tim Sakhorn’s case is now turning into an international case, all the countries which we contacted, including the United Nations, as I told you earlier, will take up this case to demand an answer from the Vietnamese government, as in the case of the European Union Parliament which has recently announced its decision to push the Vietnamese government to resolve the case of 5 Khmer Krom monks who were defrocked and jailed until now. Therefore, in the future, the EU Parliament will continue to issue other decisions in the case of Venerable Tim Sakhorn.” In the same statement, KKF exposed the religious rights and human rights violations perpetrated by the Vietnamese government against the demonstrations held by (Khmer Krom) monks, and the defrocking of 5 Khmer Krom monks who were subsequently sent to jail a few months earlier. KKF also exposed about the killing a Khmer Krom monk in Cambodia, the defrocking of Monk Tim Sakhorn, and the arrest of Khmer Krom people in South Vietnam and their forced coercion to put the blame on Monk Tim Sakhorn. Mrs. Neang Ye, a 50-year-old teacher from Sangker Duon village, Tinh Bien district, Motr Chrouk province (Chau Doc in Vietnamese) claimed that she was jailed for one day and that she was beaten up and tortured by the Vietnamese police which forced her to confess her involvement with Monk Tim Sakhorn, just because she protested several times in the past with the Vietnamese authority about her farmlands which were confiscated by the Vietnamese authority. Mrs. Neang Ye said: “They told me: ‘Are you going to answer or not? Will you answer that you took $100 from Monk Khorn (Tim Sakhorn) or not?’ They told me to answer yes then I will be released, they said to answer yes and place the blame on Monk Khorn to prevent Khmer (Krom) people from protesting too much. I told them that in this case, I don’t know about it, it’s a case that involves people in Cambodia and it happened in Cambodia, I live in Vietnam, I only know what’s happening in Vietnam. When I said that, they took a metal bar and squeezed my right thigh until it was all swollen, they threatened me, they held me by my neck collar, at that point, I was really angry, I hold one of the cop by the neck collar back. Then they told me that the lands that Khmer (Krom) people claim as their ancestral lands, they should go and claim with Sihamonineath, they said that do you know that these lands are Vietnamese lands, they said that the Vietnamese lands not only extend to Prey Nokor (Ho Chi Minh City), at the end, in 2008, Vietnamese lands will extend all the way to the Thai border.” Neang Ye added that land protesters in Motr Chrouk province are currently faced with daily threats and they are accused of receiving money provided by Monk Tim Sakhorn who financed them to rise up and protest against the Vietnamese regime. This threat also led another Khmer Krom woman to confess and put the blame on Monk Tim Sakhorn after she was jailed for a period of 3-day. KKF says that this is a new Vietnamese tactics used to bring in more charges against Monk Tim Sakhorn, because it couldn’t find a single reason to sentence Monk Tim Sakhorn at all. On 24 August, Khieu Kanharith, who, in the past, promised that he will ask a clarification from the Cambodian consulate in Vietnam regarding Monk Tim Sakhorn’s affair, said again that he is still waiting for an reply (from the Cambodian consulate). “There is no answer from the consulate to me yet, therefore wait, I will contact and ask them.” The delay and the continued jailing of Monk Tim Sakhorn led Chea Mony, President of the Free Trade Union, to threaten that he will lead a mass demonstration in the near future to express the hurtful feelings in seeing the open interference of Vietnam in Cambodia’s internal affair, and to demand the return of Monk Tim Sakhorn. Chea Mony said: “This demonstration will take place shortly because we are holding consultations with watchdog groups in the US, Finland, and France, and we are holding a meeting of the executive committee of each union regarding the holding of this mass demonstration with Khmer Krom brothers also. Therefore, if there is no resolution to this case, it will grow into a major issue.” Thach Setha, President of the Khmer Kampuchea-Krom Community, expressed his concerns about Monk Tim Sakhorn after he learned that Monk Tim Sakhorn is currently subjected to intense torture. He added that Khmer Krom community will hook up with the Free Trade Union of Workers to lead a mass demonstration also. Thach Setha said: “We will join our force together, and make it strong, in order to force the government to bring back Monk Tim Sakhorn, and also to demand for a proper respect of the law in the Kingdom of Cambodia, the government must respect the rights of their own citizens according to the law stipulated in the Constitution in used nowadays.” Monk Tim Sakhorn was defrocked by force by the Cambodian authority at the end of June, and he was accused of undermining the friendship between Cambodia and Vietnam. After his defrocking, he disappeared until a report indicated that he was jailed in Vietnam. Regarding this issue, International and national human rights organizations, civil society, MPs, Khmer Krom organizations and associations, and the king himself, asked Hun Sen and the Cambodian Ministry of Foreign Affairs to intervene and return Monk Tim Sakhorn back to Cambodia. However, up until now, Hun Sen and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs remain silent to the requests made.