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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs      30  December 2010

Cambodian court postpones "terror" trial

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Phnom Penh Municipal Court postponed a hearing on Wednesday in the case against three men of Bangladeshi, Nepalese and Myanmar origin, who are accused of plotting terror attacks, presiding judge Sin Visal said.

The three were arrested in June after a series of letters were sent to the American, Australian and British embassies in April, identifying them as members of the al-Qaeda terrorist group who were planning attacks on their facilities.

Due to the absence of interpreters and embassy representatives, Sin Visal ordered the hearing postponed until January 11.

"We could not hear the case today because the appointed interpreter, as well as representatives from each embassy, were absent, which would not allow a fair trial," he told the court.

Court deputy prosecutor Sok Roeun said in June that 42-year-old Bangladeshi national Rafiqul Eslami, and TD Taudyal, 44, from Nepal, had been charged under Cambodia's anti-terrorism law. If convicted, each could receive between five and 10 years in prison.

He added that Eslami is facing additional charges for crossing into Cambodia without a passport. The identity of the Myanmar man is not known.

"We didn't object to the court's postponement of the hearings because the interpreter and representatives from the embassies weren't present, and the next hearing is not a long time away," said El Vanna, a lawyer representing one of the accused.

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