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Seng Chenda verdict upheld

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Seng Chenda (C) arrives at the Supreme Court in Phnom Penh last month, September 2012. Photograph: Heng Chivoan/Phnom Penh Post

Seng Chenda (C) arrives at the Supreme Court in Phnom Penh last month, September 2012. Photograph: Heng Chivoan/Phnom Penh Post

The Supreme Court on Friday upheld the decisions of the lower courts in the case of Seng Chenda, wife of well-known tycoon Khaou Chuly, upholding a 20-year prison sentence for attempted murder, a court official said.

According to judge Khim Pon, presiding, the court agreed with previous rulings that Chenda, 49, had orchestrated a plot to assassinate her stepdaughter, Sun Sotha, as well as Sotha’s nine-year-old daughter.

The court also upheld the sentences of her former security guard, Sok Lak, 30, who is also serving 20 years, and two domestic servants, Chan Sokha, 38, and Neang Sinath, 28, who both received 18 years for their roles as accomplices.

Sun Chanthol, the victim’s husband, told the Post following the announcement that, after nearly two and a half years, he was happy to hear the court rule in his wife’s favour.

“I thank the three levels of court – the Phnom Penh Municipal Court, the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court – which have found for me, and provided me and my family with justice,” he said, adding that the decision was a demonstration of the courts’ efficacy.

Chanthol also denied claims levelled by the defendants that he had invented the charges in an attempt to take control of property belonging to his father-in-law, Khaou Chuly.

“I would like to say that Sun Chanthol and Sun Chanthol’s family did not want one cent of money from Okhna Khaou Chuly,” he said, adding that Chuly had revealed the plot to him, also implicating the wife of his oldest son.

Chanthol, who is the vice president of the Council for the Development of Cambodia, said that Chuly was also a victim, because he was tricked by his wife into being involved in the case.

Chenda said that she could not accept the court’s ruling, calling it “very unjust”, and said that she would now pursue other avenues, including writing to both the Ministry of Justice and the King to ask for their intervention.

Neither Sok Lak, Chan Sokha, Neang Sinath nor their defence lawyers could be reached for comment yesterday.

To contact the reporter on this story: Buth Reaksmey Kongkea at reaksmeykongkea.buth@phnompenhpost.com

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