The Supreme Court yesterday delayed its verdict in the case of Thach Saveth, the former soldier convicted of killing union leader Ros Sovannareth, an accusation rights groups say is likely false.
Ros Sovannareth, a Free Trade Union representative at a garment factory in Phnom Penh, was gunned down in May 2004, just a few months after FTU leader Chea Vichea was assassinated in similar fashion.
In 2005, Phnom Penh Municipal Court sentenced Thach Saveth to 15 years jail for the killing, a verdict upheld by the Appeal Court in 2009.
Members of Thach Saveth’s family who attended the hearing yesterday morning were joined by Christophe Peschoux, country representative for the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. Also present was Surya Subedi, the UN’s special rapporteur for human rights in Cambodia, currently on an official visit to the country.
Court clerk Chhieng Vantha announced yesterday that the case had been delayed until March 2 without providing a reason. Thach Saveth’s lawyer, Sam Chamroeun, said outside the court that he was unsure of the reason for the delay.
“The court may think it’s a complicated case and so they need a long time before they announce the verdict,” he said.
Thach Saveth claims he was travelling to Anlong Veng district in Oddar Meanchey province at the time of Ros Sovannareth’s murder and thus had nothing to do with the crime.