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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Convicted men ‘not real murderers’: Chea Mony

Convicted men ‘not real murderers’: Chea Mony

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People march to mark the nine-year anniversary of unionist Chea Vichea’s murder in Phnom Penh, Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2013. Photograph: Sreng Meng Srun/Phnom Penh Post

On the nine-year anniversary of the murder of unionist Chea Vichea, his brother yesterday renewed calls for the release of two men convicted for the crime.

“They are not the real murderers,” Free Trade Union President Chea Mony told some 100 supporters who gathered yesterday morning in front of the Wat Langka newsstands where Vichea was shot. “I call on the court to release Born Samnang and Sok Sam Oeun soon.”

Arrested just days after the outspoken activist’s murder, both men have long maintained their innocence, and it is widely believed the pair was framed for the crime.

Last month, in a surprise announcement, the Appeal Court upheld Samnang’s and Sam Oeun’s murder convictions and ordered their re-arrest. Both had been out of prison since early 2009, after the Supreme Court provisionally released them and ordered a reinvestigation.

They are now serving out the remainder of 20-year sentences, and a new set of appeals is pending.

Speaking to a swelling crowd flanked by some 20 police and military police, Mony said he would soon be withdrawing his nine-year-old court complaint.

“We filed the complaint to court seeking justice, but we get injustice; I’m a victim, Samnang and Sam Oeun are victims. So I should withdraw my complaint that won’t connect with the corrupt court anymore,” he said.

In a joint statement issued yesterday by the Cambodian Confederation of Unions, the court verdict is labelled a “fiction”.  

“The Cambodian authorities and court are making a fiction for the national and international community, as Samnang and Sam Oeun were arrested a second time, instead of the real murderers who shot Chea Vichea.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Kim Yuthana at yuthana.kim@phnompenhpost.com

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