Search form

Login - Register | FOLLOW US ON

Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Convicted killers of labor leader released pending retrial

Convicted killers of labor leader released pending retrial

20083112-hengchivoan-bs_sso_release.jpg

The Cambodian Supreme Court released the two men convicted of assassinating outspoken union leader Chea Vichea -- Born Samnang, 24, and Sok Sam Oeun, 36 -- and sent their case back to the Court of Appeal for further investigation pending a retrial, citing contradictory evidence in the prior trials.

Sok Sam Oeun’s father, Vuon Phon, told the Post, “I’m very happy and excited that my son was released with a big smile”.

The two men have been in prison for nearly five of their 20 year-sentences.

The two men’s prosecutor, Chhoun Chantha, remained adamant about their guilt, telling reporters, “It’s normal for the accused to find ways to fool the court in order for them to be released from their punishment”.

But around the courtroom, he was in the minority. When Judge Dith Monty, the court president, announced the ruling after the four-hour hearing, the audience listening to the proceedings outside the courtroom burst into applause, ecstatic that the two men would have another chance at freedom.

Though the convictions were widely and repeatedly condemned by local and international rights organisations, many were expressed surprise at the court’s announcement.

The executive director of the Cambodian Defenders Project, Sok Sam Oeun (no relation to the defendant) was stunned.

“I feel strange and surprised, because I never trusted the independence of the Supreme Court. I hope this means the judiciary in Cambodia is improving” he said.

Suon Seth, the executive secretary of the Cambodian Human Rights Action Committee, told the Post, “This is a day that Cambodians can be proud of the court”.

But he warned, this decision may not represent a significant change in Cambodian judiciary. “When they say they will conduct a new investigation, they will find nothing, and it will take years.”

0

Comments

Please, login or register to post a comment

Latest Video

Turkish Embassy calls for closure of Zaman schools

With an attempted coup against the government of President Recep Erdogan quashed only days ago and more than 7,000 alleged conspirators now under arrest, the Turkish ambassador to Cambodia yesterday pressed the govern

CNRP lawmakers beaten

Two opposition lawmakers, Nhay Chamroeun and Kong Sakphea were beaten unconscious during protests in Phnom Penh, as over a thousand protesters descended upon the National Assembly.

Student authors discuss "The Cambodian Economy"

Student authors discuss "The Cambodian Economy"

Students at Phnom Penh's Liger Learning Center have written and published a new book, "The Cambodian Economy".