Moscow demands that Cambodia should thoroughly probe circumstances of Polonsky's arrest

Russia insists on conducting an objective investigation of the situation that led to the detention of businessman Sergei Polonsky and two other Russian citizens in Cambodia.

"Considering the gravity of the charges, we believe in the necessity of a thorough and objective investigation, the clarification of all the circumstances of the incident. The embassy has sent a corresponding query to the Foreign Ministry of Cambodia," a commentary of the Foreign Ministry information and press department circulated on Wednesday says.

The commentary says that Moscow is closely following the developments. "The Russian embassy in Phnom Penh is in touch with the Cambodian authorities, and guarantees the protection of the rights and interests of our citizens. The detainees have been provided with a lawyer and interpreter," the commentary says.

Last week the local media reported that Polonsky and two more Russians were arrested in Sihanoukville on December 31, in line with a court ruling. The reports said six local sailors picked up three Russians near the island of Ko Rong, from where they had intended to return to the mainland, on Dec. 29. According to the victims, Polonsky threatened the captain of the vessel with a knife and locked him up in a cabin and made several crewmembers jump in the water.

Last Saturday it was reported that the court in Sihanoukville extended Polonsky's arrest for an indefinite period of time.

On Monday a posting appeared on Polonsky's page in Facebook saying that the businessman is determined to insist on a prosecutor's probe.

"I could be released in 15 minutes, if I pleaded guilty. But I will get out only if I am fully acquitted because I am not to blame for what happened," Polonsky wrote.

The Russians may be sentenced to up to three years of jail on charges of intentional bodily damage and illegal detention.

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