Cambodian soldier admits attack on opposition lawmakers

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A member of an elite Cambodian military unit being tried on charges of beating up two opposition lawmakers has admitted the act but says he was insulted by the victims and did not know they were members of Parliament.

Chay Sarith testified Thursday in Phnom Penh Municipal Court, where he and two colleagues are being tried in the October 2015 attack on two lawmakers from the Cambodia National Rescue Party as they were leaving a parliamentary session. The defendants were part of a pro-government crowd that had gathered to demand the resignation of deputy opposition leader Kem Sokha.

The three defendants are members of Prime Minister Hun Sen's bodyguard unit, and circumstantial evidence has led critics to suggest the ruling Cambodian People's Party orchestrated the attacks.