The Supreme Court on Monday increased the compensation to be paid by three people who brutally attacked two former lawmakers of the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) in 2015, following a trial on October 21.
Judge Chan Raingsey read the verdict in the absence of the two plaintiffs – Kong Saphea and Nhay Chamroeun – and the defendants – Chhay Sarith, Mao Hoeung and Sot Vanny, all former members of the Prime Minister’s Bodyguard Unit.
Raingsey noted that Ket Khy, the lawyer representing Saphea and Chamroeun, said his clients had demanded one billion riel ($250,000) from the three defendants, but the Phnom Penh Municipal Court’s decision, subsequently upheld by the Appeal Court, ordered them to pay each man only 40 million riel.
“The Supreme Court decides to order the three convicted persons to pay 50 million riel in compensation to each victim,” Raingsey said.
Speaking after the hearing on Monday, Khy said that following the verdicts of the two lower courts, he had filed an appeal with the Supreme Court.
“This increase from 40 to 50 million riel is inappropriate,” he said.
On October 26, 2015, thousands of protesters gathered in front of the National Assembly to demand that former CNRP leader Kem Sokha be stripped of his position as deputy chairman of the assembly.
After the protest died out, some waited and upon seeing Chamroeun and Saphea attempt to leave the assembly, the remaining protesters dragged the lawmakers out of their cars and severely beat them.
A week later, Sarith, Hoeung and Vanny turned themselves in. The trio were the only attackers punished, despite video footage showing at least 16 men punching, kicking or pushing the pair.
They were sentenced in May 2016 to four years in prison, with three years suspended, and ordered to pay 40 million riel to each victim. In June last year, the Appeal Court upheld the Phnom Penh Municipal Court’s decision.
Khy said at the time that he and his clients were unhappy with the charge and the sentence meted out against the three men, but the law only allowed the defence team to appeal against the compensation.
“According to law, when a criminal penalty is not in line with the crime, only the prosecutor can file an appeal against the punishment. The civil party can only appeal damages,” he said.