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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Samurai sword trial ends

Samurai sword trial ends

Roeun Sothun, 24, covers his face as he enters Phnom Penh Municipal Court yesterday to face charges of attempted murder.

A former Royal Cambodian Armed Forces paratrooper accused of dismembering a 25-year-old man with a samurai sword in Phnom Penh saw his trial conclude yesterday, with a verdict set to be announced next week.

Ek Chheng Huot, deputy prosecutor at Phnom Penh Municipal Court, said that Roeun Sothun, 24, a former soldier with the 11th Military Paratrooper Unit in the RCAF, was arrested in December last year at Kambol village in Dangkor district’s Pong Teuk commune.

He has been charged with the attempted murder of Uy Bunnarith, whose arms were cut off below the elbow with a samurai sword in July 2009.

Uy Bunnarith, who has asked for US$50,000 in compensation, testified during the trial that he heard a gang fight near his home on the night of the offence. When he went to see what was going on, he said he was attacked by the suspect. When he tried to protect himself, his arms were severed.

“After cutting off both my arms, he tried to cut my neck but luckily I shouted for help from neighbours and he fled,” Uy Bunnarith said.

“I think that I am lucky that I was not murdered but I am now disabled. To find justice, I would like to ask the court to strongly punish him and ask him to pay me $50,000 in compensation.”

Prosecutor Ek Chheng Huot claimed at the court yesterday: “Roeun Sothun is a gangster. He used his own samurai sword to cut the victim without pitying him. To avoid his arrest and punishment, he then [enlisted] as an RCAF soldier.”

He added that he signed up with the armed forces one month after the alleged attack.

Roeun Sothun confessed to the attack in court yesterday, but said that he did not intend to kill the victim and asked the court to reduce his charges.

“I decided to use to my sword to attack him because I saw he was walking toward me. I thought that he was the leader or a member of the group that had a dispute with me,” he said.

Presiding Judge Din Sivuthy described the alleged attack of the victim as “inhumane” and said that a verdict would be announced on April 11.



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