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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Sat Soeun to trial, and likely to face further charges

Sat Soeun to trial, and likely to face further charges

M ILITARY strongman Col Sat Soeun will likely be tried for the murder of Kompong

Cham journalist Chan Dara within the month after his appeal for charges to be

dropped was thrown out by a Phnom Penh judge on Feb 24.

Sat Soeun, who

was arrested for Dara's killing on Dec 11 and taken to Phnom Penh because

Kompong Cham authorities were afraid of intimidation, is also likely to face two

further charges - including another murder.

The family of villager Ti Mak

have laid a complaint about Ti Mak's shooting on June 6 last year, allegedly by

Sat Soeun. The family of Veng Sreang have also complained that Sat Soeun

allegedly wounded Sreang on Oct 11 last year.

Human rights workers have

been assured by Kompong Cham authorities that investigations have been made into

the two earlier cases and that Sat Soeun will be tried.

The Post also

understands there is a disciplinary action being investigated against a Kompong

Cham judge for irregularities involving the Soeun case. Further details on this

charge were sketchy.

Sources close to the case believe that the evidence

against Soeun for the killing of Dara - a correpsondent for Koh Santepheap who

had written about illegal logging in the province - appear less than


They say Soeun's testimony did not appear to "fit" the

circumstances of the killing but there were no witnesses to the


Soeun admitted to traveling behind Dara home from a restaurant,

and the serial numbers on the two bullets found in Dara's body were sequential

to the numbers of bullets found in a box belonging to a military officer

belonging one of Soeun's units.

Dara's wife had also allegedly been

offered, but refused, money from Soeun's family to drop her complaint, according

to sources.



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