Chhoeun Chanthan (C), former head of Senate president Chea Sim’s bodyguard unit, smiles as leaves the military court in Phnom Penh in February. Photograph: Vireak Mai/Phnom Penh Post
The former head of Senate President Chea Sim’s bodyguard unit will appear in court next month to appeal against military court convictions and a 26-year prison sentence for possessing illegal weapons, forgery and other crimes, his defence lawyer said yesterday.
Lieutenant General Chhoeun Chanthan, also known as Mao, 41, was sentenced in a military court in February, a week after the Phnom Penh Municipal Court jailed him for 10 years for separate offences that included breach of trust, intentionally destroying and embezzling state property and illegally distributing weapons.
Put Theavy, defence lawyer for Chanthan, the former deputy commander of the Mixed Chief of Staff at the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces and president of the Chhoeun Chanthan Export and Import Company, said yesterday his client would attend court on September 27 for an appeal trial that related only to the military case.
“To defend and find justice for my client . . . I have already prepared new evidence. This evidence shows my client has not done anything wrong,” he told the Post yesterday.
“I hope the court will drop charges against him, and release him to have his freedom.”
Military police arrested Chanthan and three bodyguards at his luxury residence in the capital’s Chamkarmorn district on August 13 last year.
Police seized weapons, ammunition and military clothes during the operation.
Appeal Court deputy general prosecutor Tan Senarong confirmed yesterday Chanthan’s appeal would be heard.
“The investigation of Chhoeun Chanthan’s case has been completed. The Court of Appeal will conduct the hearing on September 27,” Senarong said, before declining to comment in more detail.
Chanthan was also fined an additional US$3 million by the military court. He had separately appealed the 10-year sentence dished out to him by the municipal court, which also fined him about $1,250, and was waiting to be told when his appeal would be heard, his lawyer said.
To contact the reporter on this story: Buth Reaksmey Kongkea at firstname.lastname@example.org