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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Hopes for amnesty fade

Hopes for amnesty fade

With requests to intervene denied by both the King and the prime minister, the two

men convicted of killing union leader Chea Vichea will now appeal to the courts,

say family members.

Vuon Phon, father of Sok Samoeun, said there had been no reprieve from his son's

20-year prison sentence

On August 17 King Norodom Sihamoni wrote from Beijing to Prime Minister Hun Sen asking

that he consider intervening, according to a copy of the letter received by Phon

on September 20 through the Cambodian Defenders Project.

However, with only days left before the end of the 60-day window to file an appeal,

the jailed men and their parents decided to give up on a royal amnesty and face the

courts again.

"My son and I decided to file an appeal because the valid time is too short,"

Phon told the Post after visited Samoeun September 20.

Bourn Samnang's mother, Nuon Kimsry, confirmed her son's intention to appeal his

conviction after visiting him on the same day.

Lawyers for the two men said they have already prepared the necessary appeal documents

and are awaiting instructions from their clients.

On August 1, the Phnom Penh municipal court sentenced Samoeun, 36, and Samnang, 24,

to 20 years in prison for the assassination of Vichea, who was shot three times while

reading a newspaper outside Wat Lanka January 22, 2004.

Both men say they where elsewhere at the time of the murder and human rights groups

have criticized the August 1 conviction and called the court proceedings a "show

trial."

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