Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Court postpones appeal of Kem Ley’s killer

Court postpones appeal of Kem Ley’s killer

Oeut Ang, also known as Choub Samlab, or ‘meet to kill’, sits in a prison truck in March 2017 upon arrival at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court. A hearing over his sentence was postponed on Tuesday afternoon.
Oeut Ang, also known as Choub Samlab, or ‘meet to kill’, sits in a prison truck in March 2017 upon arrival at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court. A hearing over his sentence was postponed on Tuesday afternoon. Pha Lina

Court postpones appeal of Kem Ley’s killer

The Appeal Court on Tuesday postponed a hearing for Oeut Ang, the former soldier convicted of killing political commentator Kem Ley, as prison police had not brought him to court because of confusion over his summons letter.

Ang, who in past court appearances has repeatedly given his name as “Choub Samlab”, or “meet to kill”, was convicted and received a life sentence last March for premeditated murder and illegal gun possession. He is appealing his sentence.

Ley was gunned down in July 2016 as he drank coffee at a Phnom Penh petrol station. The murder led to a national outpouring of anger and emotion, with many observers calling it a politically motivated killing.

At the Appeal Court, a panel of three judges had Ang’s hearing listed among a docket of seven other cases. But as it became clear Ang was not in court, they delayed the hearing before eventually addressing his absence.

Presiding Judge Chay Darasovann said Prey Sar Prison officials had received a summons, which was signed acknowledging its receipt.

But Lor Kim Ghech, Ang’s newly-appointed lawyer, said prison officials claimed not to have received the summons.

“They said they have not received the summons and may not bring him,” Ghech said. He said Article 300 of the Criminal Procedure Code requires a defendant to be present at their hearing.

While Judge Darasovann said the trial could proceed without Ang’s presence because a lawyer was present, he agreed with the defence and prosecutor’s request to postpone the hearing.

“Because this is the first appeal hearing and the accused is not present the panel agrees to this request,” he said, after a five-minute deliberation.

Also absent was Ley’s widow, Bou Rachana, who the court again listed as the plaintiff in the case. Rachana has repeatedly said she has not filed a complaint and has been dismissive of the court’s proceedings.

She and her five sons were recently granted asylum in Australia.

“I know clearly that the courts in Phnom Penh do not have the ability to arrest the real killers and to find justice for me,” she wrote on Facebook last week, reacting to her summons for the appeal hearing.

MOST VIEWED

  • Government hits back at threats to pull EBA, suspend UN seat

    The spokesman for the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) has said the government is in no way concerned after the European Parliament gave it three months to reverse what it called the “systematic repression of the political opposition”. Ignoring the ultimatum could mean facing

  • Chinese influx pushing locals, Westerners out of Preah Sihanouk

    Some within the Kingdom’s tourism industry have speculated that the recent influx of Chinese visitors may hinder domestic tourism as the price of accommodations in the coastal city of Sihanoukville continues to rise. Preah Sihanouk province, which has become a hotbed for Chinese investment

  • Sar Kheng: Sokha requested security

    Interior Minister Sar Kheng on Sunday revealed the story behind the transfer of former opposition party leader Kem Sokha from Trapaing Phlong prison in Tbong Khmum province to his house in the capital. Speaking at the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) headquarters in Prey

  • ‘Dire consequences’ from sanctions, warns AmCham

    American businesspeople in Cambodia have warned that any sanction against the Kingdom would have “dire consequences” that could push Cambodia even further into the arms of China. In a letter to US senators and representatives dated Monday, the American Chamber of Commerce Cambodia (AmCham) said