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Heng Pov called to testify in union case

Heng Pov called to testify in union case

THE brother of Chea Vichea, the labour leader whose death prompted two controversial convictions in 2005, has called for a jailed murderer to appear as a witness in the retrial of the case.

Chea Mony, the victim's younger brother, told Cambodia Express News that he sent a letter to the Court of Appeal asking that former national police chief Heng Pov be summoned as a witness in the August 17 retrial of the men convicted of killing Chea Vichea: 24-year-old Born Samnang and 36-year-old Sok Sam Oeun.

Heng Pov was arrested and convicted of a variety of charges, including murder, in 2006.

Though the defendants in Chea Vichea's case were convicted in 2005, the verdict was highly criticised by local and international organisations that felt that the men were innocent scapegoats. The victim's family turned down the court-ordered compensation from the accused in protest of the verdict.

While Heng Pov supported the verdict as police chief, he admitted after his arrest that he did not believe the men were guilty. No witnesses were called to testify, and no forensic evidence was presented in court.

Appeal Court Deputy President Chuon Sunleng said Sunday that he had yet to see Chea Mony's letter, but that he would consider the request.

"I've never heard of a convicted criminal being called as a witness, but I will read the letter and take it into consideration," he said.

Though they were originally sentenced to 20 years in prison, the Supreme Court ordered the provisional release of Born Samnang and Sok Sam Oeun on December 31, pending new investigations.

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