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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - High blood pressure sends labour leader's killer to Calmette

High blood pressure sends labour leader's killer to Calmette

Sok Sam Oeun, who was convicted of killing unionist Chea Vichea in 2004, may be too ill to face court on Wednesday, his lawyer says

SOK Sam Oeun, one of two men convicted of assassinating union leader Chea Vichea, may be unable to appear in front of the Supreme Court on Wednesday due to high blood pressure, according to a local rights group.

Am Sam Ath, a monitor for Licadho, said that Sok Sam Oeun was diagnosed with high blood pressure last Friday and was escorted to Calmette Hospital.

"The disease will lead to the postponement of his [hearing]  if it reoccurs," Am Sam Ath said, adding, however, that "he is getting better and had returned to the prison".

Licadho's Dr Man Sopheara,  who regularly examines inmates, said Sok Sam Oeun's apprehensions about the upcoming hearing had contributed to his high blood pressure.

Sok Sam Oeun and Born Samnang were sentenced to 20 years in prison for murdering union activist Chea Vichea in January 2004. But rights groups,  including Licadho, contend the men were framed for the politically-charged killing.

The court will consider whether their trial was conducted properly, and could rule for a re-trial in a lower court.

Man Sopheara said he would examine the health of both men before the hearing.

But Chhoun Chatha, deputy general prosecutor of the Supreme Court, told the Post that if one the men was unable to attend the hearing for a specific reason, he could write a letter informing the judges prior the proceedings.

"We have not changed our schedule," he said.



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