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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Retracted confession muddies case involving govt official’s wife

Retracted confession muddies case involving govt official’s wife

A DEFENCE lawyer representing four people charged with the attempted murder of the wife of a senior government official said Thursday that he doubted his clients’ testimonies after one retracted a confession made earlier this week.

All four – Chan Sokha, 37, Neang Sinath, 25, Yan Sothearith, 25, and Sok Lat, 30 – were charged in Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Wednesday in connection with their alleged involvement in a plot to murder Sun Chantha, the wife of Sun Chanthol, vice chairman of the Council for the Development of Cambodia.

I do not fully believe my clients as their testimonies vary.

Dun Vibol, the defence lawyer, said Thursday that the four suspects had been arrested on Sunday after Sun Chantha had filed a complaint to the Interior Ministry on June 16 accusing them of attempting to murder her in her villa in Sen Sok district’s Toek Thla commune on June 13.
Dun Vibol said his clients had on Wednesday retracted their initial confessions, and that he now has some doubts about the veracity of their testimonies.

“I do not fully believe my clients, as their testimonies vary from ones given by the police and court prosecutor,” he said, and added that he could not comment further on the case because it was still being investigated.

“This is a complex case and therefore was brought to an investigating judge to find out the truth,” he said.

“I cannot elaborate any further, as I am also still learning the facts.”

Retracted confessions
In testimony before investigating judge Te Sam Ath on Wednesday, a transcript of which was obtained Thursday, waitress Chan Sokha retracted earlier statements to police in which she confessed to being involved in a murder plot.

She had said to police that the plot was masterminded by the wife of her employer, a wealthy Phnom Penh businessman.

“I have never received orders from her to poison or kill Sun Chanthol’s family, although [his] wife and Chanthol’s wife used to have internal arguments,” she said, according to the transcript.

Chan Sokha went on to claim that she had made her initial statements and confessions to police under duress.

Te Sam Ath said Thursday that the case was still being investigated.

If convicted, the four suspects could each face between 10 and 20 years in prison.

Sun Chanthol could not be reached for comment Thursday.

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