(Bangkok) – Two opposition members of parliament described in chilling detail how an organized group dragged them from their cars and beat them as they tried to leave Cambodia’s National Assembly building in Phnom Penh on October 26, Human Rights Watch said today. Prime Minister Hun Sen called for the surrender of those who attacked Cambodian National Rescue Party (CNRP) members of parliament Kung Sophea and Nhay Chamraoen, who are recuperating from serious injuries in a Bangkok hospital. However, the police have made no arrests, despite extensive video and photo coverage of the attacks.
Statement of Kung Sophea
Usually, when I arrive for parliamentary meetings, I see barbed wire barricades surround the National Assembly building. I thought it was strange that they were not set up this morning. When I arrived at the security scanner, I noticed that the usual six to seven guards at the entrance were fewer. This time only a few men were at the scanners and they told me that the security scanners were broken that day.
After I cast my last vote in parliament, I did not wait around for my vote to be counted, I went to the exit and walked out of the building and was picked up by my driver. We went to the first gate to the right of the main gate and saw that the gate was already closed. We were directed to the main gate and saw a car pass through in front of us, but the guards told us to go on and would not let us through. We eventually exited the side gate and I remember my driver telling me while he was exiting that he saw a man in a red hat across the street by the Australian embassy talk into a walkie-talkie and point at our car.
The next thing I know, I see a man standing in front of our car with a walkie-talkie in his hand. Our driver stops to avoid hitting him. A group of about 20-30 men surround the car and the man with the red hat from across the street opens my door and pulls me out of the car with the help of two other men.
I remember one of them saying as they’re punching me inside the car and pulling me out, “So you think you’re strong, huh?”
I manage to break away and get back into the car, but shortly after I’m dragged out again and punched and kicked. I start to feel dizzy and don’t remember the exact details after this but I remember getting pulled out of my car three separate times. The last time they came into my car they tore my pants and ripped my pocket to get my wallet.
My driver then takes me to my home, but I decide to go straight to CNRP headquarters instead of going inside my residence.
I don’t know what will happen to me if I go back to Cambodia.
Statement of Nhay Chamraoen
I always enter the National Assembly early, around 6 a.m. when parliament meets. I thought it was strange that I was told the security scanners at the entrance to the building were broken. I heard that Kem Sokha was not coming to parliament today because of protests.
Later that morning at around 11 a.m., I received a message from a good friend to be careful because there were demonstrations outside. I was monitoring the situation on my phone on Facebook to keep updated on what was happening outside.
I cast my last vote around noon and did not wait for the count. I was picked up by my fiancé who was my driver that day and followed Kung Sophea’s car to our normal exit on the northwest side of the National Assembly. I saw their car get directed by a guard and the gate closed, so we followed to the main gate, the west gate. We again were waived off and we drove down to the side exit on the south side of the National Assembly towards the Australian embassy.
This seemed a bit strange to me so I tried to call my friend on my phone but I received a message saying that the system was blocked.
Once I exited through the side gate, we made a right and I see Sophea being attacked by men while he was inside his car. They were about 10 meters away. I remember seeing two police officers about 5 meters away just standing there not doing anything to stop the attack.
My fiancé tried to pull our car back but we were blocked by other cars trying to leave from the same exit behind us.
Soon, at least 10 people were surrounding my car holding objects in their hand that I couldn’t identify. I remember them yelling, “Open the door! Open the door! ... That one too!” while pointing at me. One man had a walkie-talkie and used it to smash my window and open my door and drag me out. My fiancé was hit in the back of the head and was terrified but they left her alone in the car.
I fell to the ground and I just remember a flurry of punches and kicks and tried to cover myself up as best I could but it could not stop the attacks. I lost consciousness. I saw in the video posted that someone was stomping on my chest but I did not remember that happening.
I remember people dragging me into the National Assembly building to the medical room and we waited for the doctor for about two hours but they did not come.
We eventually left together with a row of cars of members of parliament and met back at CNRP headquarters where I received some treatment.
They still have to remove wires from my right wrist to try to repair three fractures there. I am afraid of what will happen to me when I return to Cambodia. I don’t know if they were specifically targeting me or if they just wanted to get anyone from the opposition who happened to leave the National Assembly at that time.