THE Appeal Court yesterday upheld two convictions against disgraced former Phnom Penh Police Chief Heng Pov and five accomplices accused of the murder of a judge and the attempted murder of a military police chief.
Heng Pov was sentenced in 2006 to 18 years in prison for masterminding the April 2003 slaying of Phnom Penh municipal Judge Sok Sethamoni.
The court also upheld 16-year sentences for five police officers implicated in the murder; Ly Rasy, Prum Sophearith, Hang Vutha and Am Samkheng, as well as Hang Vuthy, who remains at large.
Heng Pov was also convicted in March of last year for the attempted murder in 2003 of military police official Sao Sokha, and received a further 18 years in prison. Ly Rasy received a 16-year sentence, while the other four received 15 years.
Yesterday, presiding judge Chuon Sunleng rejected their cases for appeal.
“We have upheld the same convictions against them handed down from the Phnom Penh Municipal Court,” he said. “We have paved the way for them to appeal to the Supreme Court within a month.”
Lawyer Im March, defending Am Samkheng, Hang Vutha and Heng Vuthy, said the court’s decision to reject the appeal in relation to the Sao Sokha case was unjust.
“There was a lack of evidence to find them guilty,” he said, and added that he was unaware of the other appeal as he had only just been appointed to the case.
Since his 2006 arrest, Heng Pov has been sentenced to nearly 100 years in prison on a raft of charges including extortion, kidnapping and murder.
During a November 19 Appeal Court hearing, he denied involvement in the murder of Sok Sethamoni and claimed the conviction in the attempted murder of Sao Sokha was based on an anonymous letter, which he claimed in court was an “invented story”.