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Bomber spouse calls for help

A man convicted for his role in an attempt to bomb the Cambodian-Vietnamese Friendship monument in July 2007 has requested help from the local rights group Licadho as he seeks to revive a dormant appeal, a staff investigator said today.

Chheng Sophors, investigator for Licadho, said today he received a letter penned from Prey Sar prison by Kem Toeun, 56, through the man’s wife.

He said Licadho would study the case, but had not yet determined how it would help.

“We will check the case again and study legal procedure to see what we can possibly do to help him or find lawyers for him,” Chheng Sophors said.

Phong Sokhoeun, 45, said today her husband, Kem Toeum, was sentenced wrongly to 16 years in prison, and claimed he did not even know the four co-conspirators.

“When he was arrested on July 30, 2007, police told our family that they were taking him to find a job as a house security guard, which would earn US$80 per month, so we agreed,” she said.

“It’s unjust. He was just a moto driver and didn’t know how to make a bomb.”

Kem Toeum, Sok Kimsovath, Soeun Vy, Lim Phen and Soeun Khan alias Kim Sophat, all Khmer Kampuchea Krom, were sentenced to between 15 and 17 years in prison for planting three home-made bombs near the Cambodian-Vietnamese Friendship monument on July 29.

One of the bombs, which were made with a mixture of TNT and fertilizer, exploded but explosive experts defused the two others and no one was injured.

Moeun Sovann, a former lawyer for the Cambodian Defenders Project who defended the men in Phnom Penh Municipal Court, said today he was no longer representing them and the Appeal Court was unable to hear the case because “now they have no lawyers”.

He and another attorney filed an appeal in early 2009, he said.

“It is a criminal case which requires them to have defence lawyers,” Moeun Sovann said.

Pann Kin Lean, prosecutor at the Appeal Court, said he did not know whether the bomb plot case had been heard.

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