samedi, décembre 09, 2006

Heng Pov Affair (suite)

News From Cambodia N° 0657-E


Khemara Jati
Montreal, Quebec
December 8th, 2006

We reproduce below articles in The Cambodia Daily and Cambodge Soir of December 7th, 2006, concerning Heng Pov. These articles show that 24 hours after the arrival of Heng Pov to Helsinki, The Cambodia Daily and Cambodge Soir still remain in the vagueness about this piece of news. Because these newspapers think that no country would dare to give the political asylum to Heng Pov then defy on major power's ban.

Finland was a country among the poorest one of Europe 30 years ago. Since then, by investing massively in the education in the Finnish and Swedish national languages, according to the language of the family, with English mainly as second language and in the scientific and technical research, Finland is now becoming one of the most prosperous countries of Europe. It is also the country which respects scrupulously the rights of the foreigners.

Cambodians who live there are encouraged to develop their national culture. Finnish cultural organizations with the Finnish government are ready of helping to develop the Cambodian language by translations and publications of the chief works of the world culture. There just has to apply a demand on behalf of our fellow countrymen.

« About the education in Finland, let us remind that PISA tests (Program for International Student Assessment), aiming to supply a measuring instrument allowing a comparison of performances of the school systems on an international scale, in this particular case in all the countries of the OECD, (Organization of Cooperation and Economic Development including around thirty), in the year 2000, classified that the Finnish pupils are the best of the world. The principal base of the Finnish system is the unique school, free and compulsory for all until 16 years. The children begin school at 7 years old and frequent the public school in the proportion of 97 %. Only 2 % of students drop out before the end of their secondary education. About 80 % of 3 000 the Finnish schools has less than 300 pupils. And the relatives (parents) hold it. »

Cambodge Soir,
Phnom Penh, le 7 décembre 2006

Heng Poeuv aurait obtenu l’asile politique en Finlande

Le feuilleton de Heng Poeuv toucherait-il à son terme ? Selon une rumeur insistance circulant hier, l’ancien commissaire municipal poursuivi dans le cadre de plusieurs affaires de meurtres et détenu en Malaisie depuis le 3 octobre, aurait obtenu l’asile en Finlande, échappant définitivement à ses ennuis judiciaires dans le royaume. L’information émanant selon plusieurs sources du cabinet du PSR, a été prise hier par Radio Free Asia, et largement colportée tout au long de la journée par différents interlocuteurs. Mais rares étaient ceux qui se risquaient à la confirmer.

Le porte-parole du gouvernement Khieu Kanharith a reconnu avoir entendu cette nouvelle et s’apprêtait à la commenter avant de déclarer qu’il préférait finalement attendre une confirmation officielle du ministre de l’Intérieur. Le directeur d’Interpol au Cambodge, Keo Vanthan, s’est quant à lui dit dans l’impossibilité de faire des commentaires au motif qu’il était enn réunion. « Si vous voulez parler de Heng Poeuv, venez demain dans mon bureau ». La présidente de Licadho Kek Galabru a également entendu la nouvelle et rappelle que plusieurs opposants cambodgiens ont trouvé asile en Finlande ces dernières années, à commencer par la femme de Chea Vichea, le président du Siorc assassiné en janvier 2003, la famille de son défunt collègue Ros Sovannareth ou encore Sok Yoeun.

Sam Rainsy, dont le parti était cité par RFA comme à l’origine de cette information, a assuré hier soir ne pas pouvoir la confirmer : « Des journalistes m’ont appelé pour m’annoncer la nouvelle et me demander de commentaires, ce que j’ai fait. Mais je ne suis pas la source. Je ne peux ni confirmer ni infirmer cette information », a-t-il déclaré en début de soirée. Kéo Rémy, député du PSR, n’était lui au courant de rien, mais précisait n’être pas surpris. « C’était prévisible. Je savais que la justice malaisienne ne renverrait pas Heng Peouv au Cambodge où il risque d’être torturé. C’est une bonne nouvelle. J’invite les Cambodgiens à l’étranger à en profiter à chercher des informations sur différents sujets et le FBI à relancer l’enquête sur l’attentant à la grenade de mars 1997 ». Soren Seelow

The Cambodia Daily
Thursday, December 7, 2006

Lawyers: Finland Issues Visa For Fugitive Cop

Phnom Penh's fugitive former police chief Heng Pov has received an entry visa from the government of Finland, his lawyers said Wednesday.

After two months of negotiation and an independent review by the Finnish government, Heng Pov’s lega1 team received written notifica­tion of the decision Wednesday and exhibited it in Malaysia's High Court on the saime day, lawyer N. Sivananthan said.

“They have offered him a visa to enter into Finland,” Sivananthan said by telephone from Kuala Lumpur, when Heng Pov is cur­rently being detained.

Since his Oct 3 arrest for over­staying his entIy pass in Malaysia, Heng Pov has been fighting deportation to Cambodia, where he was convicted in September of the 2003 murder of Municipal Court Judge Sok Sethamony and stands ac­cused of a host of other crimes.

Heng Pov is seeking political asy­1um and has made detailed counter allegations of corruption and mur­der at the highest levels of Cam­bodian government.

Cambodian officials have dis­missed his accusations as groundless.

Svananthan said Finland's deci­sion significantly increased Heng Pov's chances of avoiding deporta­tion to Cambodia.

“In view of the fact that a visa has been granted to [Heng Pov], the government may be compelled to let him go,” he added. “Previously, when we wanted to seek a deportation order to Singa­pore, the question was ‘once he's in Singapore, what happens then?’” Sivananthan said. “Now we have a very compelling reason for us to ask for an order for him to be deported to Singapore because then he can continue to Helsinki.”

Finnish officials could not be con­tacted Wednesday as Finland's embassies in Malaysia and Bang­kok were closed for the country's Independence Day.

Heng Pov's wife, Ngin Sotheavy, as she pleaded for Heng Pov's release in front of reporters at a Wednesday press conference in Kuala Lumpur, the Malaysian news Web site Sun2surf reported.

“I hope the Malaysian govern­ment will release my husband so he can go,” she was quoted as say­ing. “If my husband is deported to Cambodia he will be tortured and killed,” she said.

Ahmad Shukor, a Malaysian attorney also representing Heng Pov, said the legal team understood that the visa would allow Heng Pov to apply for political asylum once in Finland.

“The Finnish Embassy is not tel1ing us but from what we gather it is basically for him to go to Finland, then they will investigate his claim for asylum,” Shukor said

He added that it was unclear for how long the visa would be valid.

Government spokesman and Information Minister Khieu Kanharith said he was to busy to speak to a reporter and Om Yen­tieng, an advisor to Prime Minister Hun Sen, declined comment on the case.

However, Interior Ministry spokesman lieutenant General Khieu Sopheak said that if the lawyers' reports were true, Finland would be welcoming a criminal.

“We regret this because Heng Pov has been sentenced to 18 years in prison in Cambodia,” he said.

“If it’s true, it’s not the first time,” he added. “Finland always provides political asylum to those Cam­bodians who have been opposed to the government”.

In 2004, Finland offered asylum to Chea Kimny, wife of slain Free Trade Union leader Chea Vichea, and to SRP activist Sok Yoeun, whom Cambodian authorities had blamed for a 1998 rocket attack on Hun Sen's motarcade in Siem Reap province.

It was unclear when Heng Pov could be allowed to leave Malaysia, but a departure before the end of the week is not impossible, Siva­nanthan said.

William Chik, first secretary at the Singaporean Embassy, de­clined to comment on the case, while a Malaysian Embassy spokesman could not be reached.

Finland's offer to temporarily take Heng Pov will likely give him the freedom to reveal more about recent political crimes in Cam­bodia, SRP leader Sam Rainsy said.

“It is important to protect the freedom of speech of a witness as important as Heng Pov,” Sam Rainsy said, adding that he felt Heng Pov has further important things to say about the 2004 mur­der of Chea Vichea and a 1997 grenade attack that killed more than a dozen people outside the National Assembly.

But Municipal Court Judge Ke Sakhorn, who in September sen­tenced Heng Pov to 18 years in absentia for the murder of Sok Sethamony, said he was bewil­dered by Finland's decision.

“He is guilty but that country sup­ports him? I don't know what to do,” he said. “If they take a criminal to their own country, what will be the result?”

Kek Galabru, president of local rights group Licadho, said Finland has long been good to Cambodians in fight.

“Don't say I admire the case of Heng Pov but I really admire and respect Finland,” she said.

“A lot of Cambodians arrested in Cambodia now live in Finland. Even Chea Vichea's wife got a visa in Bangkok after only 10 days.” /.