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