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KR officer Sam Bith appeals conviction

KR officer Sam Bith appeals conviction

S am Bith, one of three Khmer Rouge officers convicted for the murder of three Western backpackers in 1994, is scheduled to appeal his 2002 Phnom Penh Municipal Court sentence on December 1.

Nou Chantha, a lawyer representing Bith, said on November 29 that the trial, to be held at the Appeals Court, would be postponed if the police are unable to transport Bith to the court. Bith's health is in a precarious state and he has been shuffled between Prey Sar prison and Monivong Hospital for the last few months.

Khmer Rouge general Nuon Paet and commanders Sam Bith and Chhouk Rin were each sentenced to life in prison for their roles in the murders. Convicted in 2002, Bith launched an appeal against his sentence to the Supreme Court last December and the case is yet to be heard. Paet and Rin are in jail.

In July 1994 a train traveling from Phnom Penh to Sihanoukville was attacked by 200 Khmer Rouge soldiers at Phnom Voar, Kampot. Thirteen Cambodian passengers were killed and three foreign passengers - Frenchman Jean-Michel Braquet, Australian David Wilson and Briton Mark Slater - were taken hostage. Their bodies were found six weeks later in shallow graves after negotiations failed to secure their release for a $50,000 ransom demand. They had been executed by a bullet through the skull.

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