Family members of four people accused of involvement in an attempted murder plot called yesterday for the release of their relatives and intervention from Prime Minister Hun Sen, ahead of the third trial hearing at Phnom Penh Municipal Court today.
The four – Chan Sokha, 38, Neang Sinath, 25, Khorn Lak, 30, and Yin Sophearith, 25 – stand accused of collaborating with Seng Chenda, the wife of tycoon Khaou Chuly, in an attempt to murder Suv Chantha, Khaou Chuly’s daughter from a previous marriage. All have pleaded not guilty.
Suv Chantha is married to Sun Chanthol, vice chairman of the Council for the Development of Cambodia and a former minister of public works.
Thuon Sarath, Chan Sokha’s younger brother-in-law, said the relatives were holding the press conference voluntarily and with their own money in a bid to convince Hun Sen and court officials to intervene and free the defendants.
My sister ... was framed and the charges against her were an invented story.
“We are 100 percent sure they are innocent and [their confessions] were fabricated,” Thuon Sarath said at La Parranda Hotel in Phnom Penh.
During previous testimony, Chan Sokha and Neang Sinath alleged police and Sun Chanthol forced them to falsely admit guilt during interrogation.
“We have had sufficient evidence and witnesses presented to court officials ... to claim they were innocent,” Thuon Sarath said.
Chan Sokha and Neang Sinath had also written to Hun Sen to protest for their innocence, he said.
“My sister ... was framed and the charges against her were an invented story from police officials who pressured her with a threat to tell a false story, blaming Lok Chumteav Seng Chenda ... of masterminding [the plot],” said Chan Dara, Chan Sokha’s younger sister.
The arrest of Chan Sokha, who was a housemaid for Khaou Chuly, is believed to have led police to Seng Chenda.
Sor Thorn, the mother of Yan Sophearith, who worked as a security guard for one of Khaou Chuly’s companies, said it was “impossible” for her son to have jumped over the gate at Sun Chanthol’s house because he was recovering from a traffic accident in May. The crime is alleged to have occurred June 13.
“I appeal to court officials to find justice for my son,” she said.
Lim Vanna, co-defence attorney for Seng Chenda, said he was surprised to hear about the event, but took a favourable view of it. Suv Chantha’s attorney Pal Chandara could not be reached for comment.
The Cambodian Centre for Human Rights has said it is monitoring the case.