Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Judge rejects "confessions" of 2 editor murder suspects



Judge rejects "confessions" of 2 editor murder suspects

Judge rejects "confessions" of 2 editor murder suspects

A JUDGE in a Phnom Penh court this week threw out a "confession" from two men saying that they killed Samleng Yuvachun Khmer newspaper editor Non Chan.

The two men - Moen Seun, 24 and Sum Say, 26 - had been arrested on Sept 18 and 19 respectively for Chan's murder and had been detained in custody since.

Chan, the editor of a newspaper that was hard-line anti-government, was shot and killed on Sept 7 near Wat Phnom.

Though the suspects had been arrested less than a fortnight after Chan's death, authorities have not publicized the news till now, the time of their court appearance.

The judge refused to hear the evidence or try the men, saying that it was against the law to detain suspects for longer than 48 hours before sending them to court.

A senior policeman said the reason for the lengthy detention was to have a "strict inquiry in order to collect proof to show that they had actually committed the crime."

The men told the court that they had been forced by police to put their fingerprints on evidence and confess to Chan's murder.

The judge gave police further custody of the two accused, according to the Reasmey Kampuchea newspaper.

The paper also reported that the men would appear before the court at some later, unspecified date.

The judge would discuss the matter further with the police, it said.

Interior Minister You Hockry said the two arrested men were hired killers and had received $3,000 for Chan's murder.

Hockry said that one of the suspects owned a Nova motorbike similar to one witnesses to the shooting had seen the unformed killer riding.

He said one of the men admitted his friend had done the killing, but that story later changed and his friend denied the accusation.

Hockry said that during the inquiry the two allegedly said they could not answer questions for fear of being killed by those who hired them.

There has been wide speculation that Chan's killing was politically motivated. His vitriolic articles attacked a wide range of well-known targets.

The Bangkok Post recently alleged that the Interior Ministry had found that the "real" criminals had come from the Funcinpec party and that Co-Premier Prince Norodom Ranariddh had asked Hockry to stop the investigation.

Reacting to that, Hockry denied that Ranariddh had asked him to give up the investigation "otherwise I would not have arrested the criminals," he said.

The murder of Chan drew a chorus of outrage from human rights organizations around the world. Many linked the killing to the government's efforts to clamp down on a free and unruly Khmer-language press.

MOST VIEWED

  • Phnom Penh placed in two-week lockdown

    The government has decided to place Phnom Penh in lockdown for two weeks, effective April 14 midnight through April 28, as Cambodia continues to grapple with the ongoing community outbreak of Covid-19, which has seen no sign of subsiding. According to a directive signed by Prime Minister

  • Cambodia on the verge of national tragedy, WHO warns

    The World Health Organisation (WHO) in Cambodia warned that the country had reached another critical point amid a sudden, huge surge in community transmission cases and deaths. “We stand on the brink of a national tragedy because of Covid-19. Despite our best efforts, we are

  • Hun Sen: Stay where you are, or else

    Prime Minister Hun Sen warned that the two-week lockdown of Phnom Penh and adjacent Kandal provincial town Takmao could be extended if people are not cooperative by staying home. “Now let me make this clear: stay in your home, village, and district and remain where

  • Businesses in capital told to get travel permit amid lockdown through One Window Service

    The Phnom Penh Municipal Administration has issued guidelines on how to get travel permission for priority groups during the lockdown of Phnom Penh, directing private institutions to apply through the municipality's One Window Service and limit their staff to a mere two per cent. In

  • Ministry names types of business permitted amid lockdown

    The Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training singled out 11 types of business that are permitted to operate during the lockdown of Phnom Penh and Takmao town, which run through April 28. Those include (1) food-processing enterprises and slaughterhouses; (2) providers of public services such as firefighting, utility and

  • Culture ministry: Take Tuol Sleng photos down, or else

    The Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts has told Irish photographer Matt Loughrey to take down the photos of Khmer Rouge victims at Tuol Sleng Genocidal Museum which he allegedly colourised and altered to show them smiling. The ministry said Loughrey's work is unacceptable, affecting