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Two trials for the price of one

Two trials for the price of one

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The former chief of Senate president Chea Sim’s bodyguard unit will be tried by a military tribunal today just a day before a civilian court is due to reach a verdict against him on charges including possessing illegal firearms and forging public documents.

Pha Lina/Phnom Penh Post
Chhoeun Chanthan, a former lieutenant-general and chief of Senate president Chea Sim’s bodyguard unit, enters Phnom Penh Municipal Court in August last year.

President of the Military Court of Cambodia General Ney Thol confirmed yesterday that Chhoeun Chanthan would appear in court this morning, where he will be tried by a trio of judges.

Why Chhoeun Chanthan is being tried by two separate courts on charges relating to the same accusations remained unclear yesterday.

Chhoeun Chanthan’s lawyer, Put Theavy, said his client was not guilty of the five charges brought against him by the military court, which he could not specifically recall.

“All of the charges against my client are baseless, and there is no real way to accuse him because he hasn’t committed any offences,” he said.  

He said that all of the accusations against his client, in both courts, were made based solely on other people’s jealousy of his high-ranking position.

Chhoeun Chanthan, also a deputy commander in the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces, was arrested on in mid-August last year at his residence in the capital’s Chamkarmon district.

Police confiscated several weapons, including automatic firearms, in addition to large quantities of ammunition.

After his arrest, he was sacked as chief of Chea Sim’s bodyguard unit and deputy commander in the RCAF.

Chhoeun Chanthan claimed that he was merely storing guns that were previously used to protect Chea Sim.

“I had ordered my soldiers to bring them and put them temporarily in my house because some of the weapons were broken during the mission and I needed to check them properly before returning them to the unit,” he said earlier this month.

On Thursday, he will face charges of possessing illegal firearms, forging public documents, using fake documents and issuing weapons and licenses to unauthorised persons.

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