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Court orders drug case be reheard

The Appeal Court yesterday failed to uphold a July 2011 Phnom Penh Municipal Court verdict that sentenced three men to prison for drug dealing.

In January 2010, the suspects were arrested in Daun Penh district after police allegedly found 500 grams of an unidentified “white powder” drug and a pistol in their car.

Lot Sereibot and Thai Seth – a Cambodian-Australian – were given 10-year terms, while Sim Bunsan received a two-year sentence for being an accomplice.

At the hearing yesterday, the court decided that due to a lack of evidence, the case would be sent back to the municipal court for further hearings.

Speaking at the court, Thai Seth said he had recently returned to Cambodia after 16 years in Australia when he was arrested.

He claimed to have gone out to buy things for his child’s birthday party when the police stopped his car and found the drugs.

“I was not involved in [the crimes] committed in this case.… Please, I ask the court to drop the charge.”

Seth added that the pistol belonged to a man named Roth, who escaped.

Sereibot said he was a policeman and chauffeur who was simply driving Seth on the day he was arrested.

The men also denounced statements they initially gave to police declaring their guilt.

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