The Appeal Court on Monday sentenced Hang Vuthy to 15 years in jail for the attempted murder of national Military Police Commander Sao Sokha in 2003.
Presiding judge Yun Narong read the decision in the absence of Vuthy, who is also known as Yuma Reach, but did not state grounds for the verdict.
“In this case, the convict is Hang Vuthy called Yuma Reach and the trial was held on August 6. The Appeal Court decided to uphold the verdict of the Phnom Penh Municipal Court and continues to detain the convict,” said Narong.
Outside the court, Vuthy’s sister Sun Sophoan, 38, said her brother is suffering from liver cancer and they have filed a request asking the court to release him because of his critical health condition.
“The Appeal Court is unfair for not releasing him on bail. My brother asked for the release to seek treatment because his doctor said he will only live for about five months more,” she said.
According to court records, the case was investigated following an anonymous letter dated January 2003, which exposed an alleged plot to kill Sokha and two other prominent figures – Phnom Penh Municipal Court judges Sok Setha Mony and Ouk Savuth.
During the earlier trial, the wheelchair-bound Vuthy denied the charges against him and claimed that he did not attempt to kill Sokha or the judges.
It was alleged that the convict’s gang shot Mony dead (using a K-59 pistol) when his car stopped at the traffic light at the corner of 63 Street and Preah Sihanouk Street on April 23, 2003.
After the incident, investigators arrested the 49-year-old Vuthy, along with four others related to the case – Ly Rasy (45), Hang Vutha (43), Prom Sorphea (41) and the former Phnom Penh Municipal Police Chief Heng Pov( 57).
On April 30, 2015, the Phnom Penh Municipal Court sentenced Vuthy and the other suspects to a 15-year jail term on a charge of premeditated murder.
However, Vuthy was absent during the hearing as he had escaped from jail on June 11, 2006, but returned to prison later.
He then filed an appeal to the Appeal and Supreme courts, both of which upheld the lower court’s verdict.