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Ley murderer appeals for reduced sentence

The lawyer for the man convicted of murdering political analyst Kem Ley filed an appeal against the severity of his client’s life sentence at the Appeal Court yesterday, while the investigating judge refused to say whether any progress had been made finding further suspects in the case.

Ex-soldier and former monk Oeut Ang – who calls himself “Choub Samlab”, which means “meet to kill” in English – was last month sentenced to life in prison for gunning down the prominent government critic while he enjoyed his morning coffee at a Phnom Penh gas station on July 10 last year.

Speaking by phone yesterday, his attorney, Yong Phanith, said that in line with his client’s wishes, he had filed a motion yesterday morning at the Appeal Court in a bid to reduce the term.

“I discussed with my client and he asked whether we can seek a reduction in his punishment,” said Phanith.

Ang testified that he shot the analyst over an unpaid debt, but many believe the murder was a politically-linked assassination and the 44-year-old was a trigger man.

During the sentencing hearing, the judge revealed the case had been split and authorities were still seeking the man who Ang claimed sold him the handgun and another man who Ang said introduced him to Ley.

However, yesterday, investigating judge Seng Leang refused to say whether they had uncovered any leads.“We are working on it,” he said.

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