FORMER GLORY: Chhouk Rin has a lieutenant-colonel's epaulets bestowed on him in 1994 when he defected from the Khmer Rouge to the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces.
Supporters of former Khmer Rouge commander Chhouk Rin will thumbprint an appeal to
the Supreme Council of Magistracy (SMC) to overturn the Supreme Court's life sentence
conviction, and send a request to King Norodom Sihamoni to grant a royal amnesty,
the ex-rebel leader's wife said.
Yem Sav said she will travel to Phnom Penh this week to visit her husband in Prey
Sar prison and will meet Rin's lawyer to discuss the letters to the SMC and the King.
"I'm afraid that he [Rin] will die in prison because he doesn't have medicine,"
said Sav. She said she too had become ill because of the fright of Rin's arrest.
Khieu Sopheak, spokesman for the Ministry of Interior, said Rin was arrested on October
25 about 1pm by government forces in the remote Trapaing Prasath district of Oddar
Meanchey province. Rin had fled to Oddar Meanchey several months ago to live on a
farm to escape arrest, he said.
Sopheak said Rin was arrested while building a house with his nephews. After he was
apprehended, Rin was escorted overnight from Oddar Meanchey to Siem Reap. He was
driven to Prey Sar prison, on the outskirts of Phnom Penh, the following day.
"France, Britain and Australia applauded the government's arrest. [Rin] was
in prison 24 hours after he was arrested," Sopheak said.
Sav said Rin, 54, went to Trapaing Prasath a few months ago when his declining health
appeared to improve. She said Rin told her he would continue to live there if authorities
failed to find him.
Ouch Nuon, Rin's former physician, said people living in Phnom Voar were surprised
by the arrest and that thousands of supporters were preparing to thumbprint the appeals.
"We do not believe Rin killed those three Western people," Nuon said. "Why
doesn't the government arrest other KR commanders who were involved with the killing
instead of allowing them to live at large?"
In February, the Supreme Court upheld a previous conviction on terrorism charges
and a life sentence for Rin's role in a 1994 train attack that resulted in the deaths
of 13 Cambodians. Three Western backpackers - Australian David Wilson, Briton Mark
Slater, and Frenchman Jean-Michel Braquet - were also kidnapped, held for ransom
and later killed.
In Chiva, Kampot deputy police chief, said former Khmer Rouge soldiers in Phnom Voar
did not display any significant reaction to the news of the arrest of their former
"The Australian embassy had continued to raise Chhouk Rin's evasion of justice
with the Cambodian authorities," said a spokesman for the Australian Embassy
in Phnom Penh the day after Rin's arrest.
"We welcome the [news] that Chhouk Rin has been apprehended and appreciate the
commitment of the Cambodian authorities in bringing Chhouk Rin and other perpetrators
to justice for the deaths of David Wilson and his two companions," the spokesman
Rin's superiors in the Khmer Rouge military, Nuon Paet and Sam Bith were also sentenced
to life imprisonment for their involvement in the 1994 attack which occurred on a
stretch of railway in southern Cambodia once renowned for train ambushes.
Paet was arrested in 1998 and remains in Prey Sar prison. Bith was arrested in 2002
and is in Monivong Hospital.