The attorney of a Phnom Penh widow whose land was stolen by Prime Minister Hun Sen’s cousin and an accomplice – both of whom were convicted of graft in 2011, but never arrested – asked the Court of Appeal yesterday to pick up the pace on the 15-month-old proceedings against the pair.
Kao Ty, lawyer for 69-year-old victim Huoth Sarom submitted a letter to Appeal Court presiding judge Chuon Sunleng asking the court to accelerate the case, which was filed in January 2012 but has still yet to be heard.
“Until now, it has been 15 months since my client submitted her appeal lawsuit to the appeal court, but it hasn’t been held by the court yet,” said Ty, adding that the delay “has really affected my client’s interests and her living conditions”.
Sarom’s case was first submitted to the Phnom Penh Municipal Court in 2009, but was delayed five times before it was finally heard in October 2011.
The premier’s cousin, Dy Proem, was found guilty of paying $200,000 for a forged document granting her the title to Sarom’s land, and a then-government official Seng Yean was found guilty of accepting the bribe and forging the document.
Proem was sentenced to two-and-a-half years in prison, and Yean to four-and-a-half.
Both were asked to pay sizeable fines.
The court, however, never issued warrants for their arrest, arguing that it was not obligated to, despite the convictions and sentences.
The court also left out the matter of Sarom’s land, declining to rule on whether it would be returned to the widow, or whether she would be compensated for the loss.
“My client has been waiting to receive justice in this case for a long time,” Ty said yesterday.
Judge Sunleng, who is now in charge of the case, declined to comment on the matter, and the defendants’ lawyers, Khieu Sophal and Chhiv Theng, could not be reached yesterday.