Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Court upholds Kem Ley killer’s ‘unfair’ conviction

Court upholds Kem Ley killer’s ‘unfair’ conviction

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Chuob Samlap is escorted by a member of security force as he arrives for his appeal hearing at the Supreme Court on May 8. Hong Menea

Court upholds Kem Ley killer’s ‘unfair’ conviction

The lawyer of Oeut Ang, the man convicted of killing popular activist Kem Ley in 2016, told The Post on Sunday that he considered the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold his client’s whole-life prison sentence as “unfair”. The ruling was delivered on Friday.

Oeut Ang, who after his arrest gave police the name Choub Samlab – which means “meet to kill” in Khmer – said he shot Ley over a $3,000 debt – something dismissed by Ley’s family.

Kem Ley, 45, was shot twice with a Glock handgun at a Caltex petrol station cafe on the capital’s Monivong Boulevard on July 10, 2016.

Defence lawyer Im Mach told The Post that his client found the ruling unfair as more brutal murders had received lesser sentences.

“He filed an appeal with the Supreme Court because he thinks a whole-life jail sentence is too harsh, but the sentence was upheld. My client finds the ruling of the Supreme Court really unfair."

“I personally think other murders were far more brutal and the offenders in these cases were not given whole-life jail sentences. My client’s punishment is most severe when compared to those handed down in other murder cases,” Mach said.

At the hearing, Ang confessed to killing Ley and requested the court to reduce his sentence, after Phnom Penh Municipal Court handed down a whole-life jail term on March 1, 2017, for premeditated murder and illegal gun possession.

He was convicted under articles 200 and 490 of the Criminal Code after the original trial, with the judge noting that Ang had confessed to shooting Ley.

Ang’s defence lawyer Yong Phanit filed an appeal with the Appeal Court arguing that a whole-life jail term was too “heavy”. The Appeal Court upheld the original sentence on May 11 last year.

High-profile political analyst Ley was shot twice at point-blank range at around 9am while he enjoyed his regular morning coffee at a petrol station on Monivong Boulevard, a moment captured on CCTV footage that was shown to the court at the original trial.

Ang, a native of Siem Reap province, was arrested soon after the shooting around 2km away.

Police stationed near the intersection of Monivong and Mao Tse Tuong boulevards chased Ang, who fled on foot, and fired two shots before confronting him near Svay Porpea pagoda on Sothearos Boulevard, The Post reported at the time.

MOST VIEWED

  • All Covid restrictions for inbound travellers lifted

    Cambodia has apparently taken the final step towards full reopening of the country without Covid-19 restrictions by removing all requirements for inbound travellers, who until now had to show health certificates indicating that they have tested Covid-19 negative in the past 72 hours as well as

  • Typhoon Noru brings flash floods – 16 dead

    An official warned that that the 16th typhoon of the season, Noru, had brought heavy rains to areas the Mekong River and flooded thousands of homes in the provinces bordering Thailand. As of September 27, the death toll from the flooding had risen to 16. National Committee

  • Cambodia stands firm on 5PC: No invite for Myanmar to ASEAN Summit this year

    Cambodia has not invited Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, chairman of Myanmar’s ruling State Administration Council (SAC), to the 40th and 41st ASEAN Summit and related meetings scheduled for next month in Phnom Penh. The government will instead invite a non-political representative from Myanmar

  • Mushrooming borey projects and home financing – a cause for concern?

    A spurt in housing developments is typically a sign of a growing economy but underneath all that might lay some anxiety of credit growth as developers offer financing to buyers at higher rates, an activity the central bank identifies as ‘shadow banking’ Earlier this year,

  • Thai Senate delegates in Cambodia to discuss anti-graft co-op

    A delegation from Thailand's Senate was in Phnom Penh on September 28 to meet their Cambodian counterparts to discuss strategies for fighting corruption and enhancing cooperation. The Thai delegates were from its Senate’s Committee on Studying and Inspecting Corruption, Misconduct and Strengthening Good Governance. They

  • Scholarship winner tells secrets to success

    Chhim Chaknineath was awarded the Chevening Scholarship for one year of postgraduate study in the UK for the academic year 2022-2023 along with a group of 10 other outstanding students who applied. She spent more than a year researching and studying – as well as consulting with