Yesterday's trial of former Hun Sen assistant Bun Sokha and his three accomplices saw all four confess to brutally beating four victims in a Koh Kong hotel, an incident that was captured on security camera and uploaded to YouTube, NGO officials attending the trial said.
Sokha, 38, the former deputy chief of staff of the prime minister’s bodyguard unit; his bodyguards, Sum Veasna, 37, and Meng Chheangly, 21; and driver Sum Chhaya, 25, admitted their guilt, but Koh Kong Provincial Court judge Huon Many did not render a verdict, saying it would be announced at a later date.
“The four accused accepted what they did wrong and asked for a reduced sentence,” In Kongchit, provincial co-ordinator for the rights group Licadho, said.
“Bun Sokha accepted the charges and told the judge that [he acted] because of his anger when a victim knocked on his door at the hotel. He feared the victim had bad intentions with his wife.”
The incident occurred at the Koh Kong City Hotel, in Khemarak Phoumin town, about 11pm on April 22, after the main victim, Sang Thairath, 32, who had checked out of the hotel earlier in the day, returned to look for a lost necklace in a room occupied by Bun Sokha’s wife.
In Kongchit said deputy prosecutor Meas Vathana had asked the court to uphold the charges and to consider Article 218 of the penal code, which allows for a sentence of two to five years in prison.
Neang Boratino, provincial co-ordinator for the human- rights group Adhoc, said the four victims told the court they had agreed to withdraw their complaints and had taken compensation.
“[The victims] asked the court to reduce the accused’s sentences,” he said, adding that the prime minister’s bodyguard unit also asked to be given back a gun, a pair of handcuffs and an electric baton that were being held as evidence after they were used to beat the victims.
Defence lawyer In Kim, Judge Houn Many and deputy prosecutor Meas Vathana could not be reached for comment.
To contact the reporter on this story: Chhay Channyda at [email protected]