Subscribe Search

Search form

Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Chea Vichea suspects enjoy stress-free life out of prison: family

Chea Vichea suspects enjoy stress-free life out of prison: family

Chea Vichea suspects enjoy stress-free life out of prison: family

Despite concerns about the security of the newly-released pair, one suspect, Sok Sam Oeun, says his innocence will keep him safe


After four days out of prison, Born Samnang went to the New Life Church in Phnom Penh to become a Christian, like his father. “I brought my son to the church on Sunday to let him become a Christian and be born again like me,” Bo Boeun, 59, said.

FOUR days after a Supreme Court decision sent the controversial case of union leader Chea Vichea's assassination back to the Appeal Court for reinvestigation, the two suspects - temporarily released - say they are not fearful for their safety.

"I am not afraid because I am innocent and not a bad person," Takeo native Sok Sam Oeun said, adding that he now hoped the charges against him and fellow suspect Born Samnang would be dropped.

The pair have languished in Phnom Penh's Prey Sar prison since they were arrested a week after the 2004 slaying of Free Trade Union leader Chea Vichea. Local and international rights groups have persistently called for the release of the two suspects, saying that there is no evidence connecting them to the killing.  

Family members say they remain concerned about their newly liberated relatives as they settle into a life outside prison.



"I contacted Licadho to keep an eye on my son because I am concerned and the accusations against him are not lifted yet," said Ngoun Kimsry, the mother of Born Samnang.   
Any concerns?

Local legal NGO the Cambodian Defenders Project, which has provided lawyers for the two men, said they had not heard of threats against them.

"There is no specific law about protection procedures for persons on [temporary release], but  it is the state's obligation to protect all its citizens," said the NGO's director, Sok Sam Oeun - who is not related to the suspect - adding that if any threats against the suspects are reported, the state must find a way to protect them.

"If Sok Sam Oeun and Born Samnang feel any threat, they should contact local police or a rights organisation," he added.

But Thun Saray, director of local rights group Adhoc, said that public pressure to find the "real suspects" in the murder case of union leader Chea Vichea could lead to a fresh wave of legal punishment for the pair.

"The government might feel embarrassed when the pressure to take action in the case grows, and that might lead to the Appeal Court punishing the two suspects [currently] out of prison again as a response to the public demands," he said. 


  • Kak Channthy, Cambodian Space Project frontwoman, killed in crash at 38 [Updated]

    Updated 5:05pm, Tuesday, March 20, 2018 Kak Channthy, frontwoman of popular The Cambodian Space Project, was killed Tuesday morning in a traffic accident in Phnom Penh. She was 38. Channthy, the internationally recognised singer-songwriter also known as “Srey Thy”, was reportedly travelling in a tuk-tuk on the city's

  • Australians protest Asean summit visit by PM Hun Sen

    Hundreds of protesters gathered in Sydney’s Hyde Park on Friday to protest against Cambodian strongman Hun Sen, who claimed to have been gifted millions of dollars by the Australian government ahead of a special Asean summit this weekend. An estimated 300 protesters, the majority of

  • One Australian, one Cambodian killed in explosion at military base

    Updated: 5:20pm, Friday 16 March 2018 An Australian tourist and a Cambodian soldier were killed in an explosion on Thursday afternoon at an army base in Cambodia’s Kampong Speu province. The Australian, whom the government initially identified as a technical demining expert in his 40s, and

  • Peeling back layers of prehistory in Battambang

    When the man passed away, he had not yet reached 50. He belonged to a tribe that had settled near the Sangker River in Battambang province, likely cultivating the fields and raising animals. On the side, they hunted for boars, and even turtles, one of which