The former chief bodyguard of late Senate president Chea Sim has received a royal pardon nearly eight years after he was sentenced to 15 years behind bars on several charges, according to a royal decree dated November 12, last year, and obtained by The Post on Wednesday.
Chhoeun Chanthan, who was also a senior military official, was arrested at his home in the capital’s Boeung Keng Kang III commune on August 12, 2011, a day after he accompanied Chea Sim to a museum inauguration ceremony in Prey Veng province.
The arrest followed a royal decree dated August 12, 2011, annulling all previous appointments.
Chanthan was sentenced by the Phnom Penh Municipal Court in February 2011 to 15 years’ imprisonment on charges of breach of trust, intentional destruction and embezzlement of state properties, illegal distribution of weapons and destruction of military material. He was also ordered to pay a fine of $3.5 million to the plaintiff.
“We, King Norodom Sihamoni, grants a pardon to convict Chhoen Chanthan, 41, whose . . . sentences were upheld in the Supreme Court’s verdict dated October 9, 2017,” said the royal decree.
The pardon was granted at the behest of Prime Minister Hun Sen, according to Ministry of Justice spokesman Chin Malin.
Malin said he was unsure of the prime minister’s motive behind the request of a royal pardon for Chanthan.
“It’s the prime minister’s special right to request the King to grant a pardon to any convict in accordance with the prison management law."
“It depends on the head of the government who [makes the request] if it is significant or beneficial to the government and the country,” he said.
Council of Ministers spokesman Phay Siphan could not be reached for comment.