Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Vannak Freed

Vannak Freed

Vannak Freed

AFTER more than one year in

prison, Srun Vong Vannak an Amnesty International

"prisoner of conscience" was released on Sept

30.

Sam Rainsy's former security chief stepped out of his

cell and into freedom smiling tentatively. His mother,

who had clung to his arm and wailed when he was

convicted, combed his hair fondly as Vannak changed from

prison blues to a white shirt and trousers.

"I'm happy thanks to the generous heart that the

King has for his Cambodian subjects," he said.

"I have done nothing wrong I will keep

smiling." He added that he would resume his

political activities.

Vannak's Sept 9, 1997 conviction a 13-year sentence for

masterminding the murder of Second Prime Minister Hun

Sen's brother-in-law was immediately denounced by human

rights groups as lacking evidence and politically

motivated.

Vannak had confessed to the crime on a police tape, but

recanted the confession as soon as he reached court,

claiming police threatened it out of him.

The only other evidence against him was the confessions

of his two convicted co-conspirators, who later recanted

their stories, also claiming duress. Amnesty

International declared all three "prisoners of

conscience" in May 1998.

Legal Aid of Cambodia lawyers said Justice Minister Chem

Sgnoun had finally authorized the release of their client

while he was still abroad in Vietnam.

When the day came at last to take her son home, Sok

Sokhon was calm and her sentiments were simple. "I

am very happy," she said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Prince injured, wife dies after accident

    THE wife of former First Prime Minister Prince Norodom Ranariddh, Ouk Phalla, 39, died while the prince was “severely” injured following a road accident in Preah Sihanouk province’s Prey Nub district on Sunday morning, officials said. Rananriddh, who is also the president of the Funcinpec

  • Guards protest dismissals, reject claims of sharing naked photos of child

    Some 20 former security guards at the US Embassy in Phnom Penh protested on Tuesday against their dismissal. They accused their employers of falsely claiming they had viewed and shared child pornography from their mobile phones as grounds for their termination. In total, 32 personnel were dismissed

  • We’re going to Wisney World!

    More than 6,000 mostly Chinese attendees witnessed the inauguration ceremony of a $1 billion Sihanoukville resort project called Wisney World in the capital on Wednesday. The event on Koh Pich, attended by several senior Cambodian government officials, is a joint venture between China’s AMC International and

  • Funcinpec urges probe into deadly Preah Sihanouk accident

    THE Funcinpec party has urged the government, especially the Ministry of Interior, to investigate the traffic accident in Preah Sihanouk province which left Prince Norodom Ranariddh badly injured and his wife Ouk Phalla dead. Funcinpec Vice President You Hokry told reporters at Botum Votey pagoda,