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Villagers protest jailing of ‘innocent’ man

Villagers protest jailing of ‘innocent’ man

Some 100 villagers protested in Svay Rieng province on Tuesday, seeking intervention from the authorities to expedite a court case against one of two men who has been imprisoned for raping and murdering an 18-year-old girl in August last year.

The villagers, who are family members, relatives and friends of jailed Phlek Sony, called on the Ministry of Justice and the Svay Rieng provincial court to speed up legal proceedings and release the accused.

Sony’s family said he had been framed by the other accused, Cheuy Socheat, because of revenge.

“Phlek Sony is innocent. He has been unfairly accused by the other suspect, Cheuy Socheat,” Prey Ta Nhoiy villagers said during the protest.

On August 2, last year, the provincial court charged Sony under Article 205 of the Criminal Code with murder, torture and rape, allegedly committed in the province’s Bavet commune. Sony has been jailed since August 11 last year.

According to a video clip posted on the Koh Santepheap Daily’s website, Sony’s wife Ros Soun, 53, their children Khon Vakhim,17, and Khon Sreylin,15, and witness Dam Sary, 52, claim that at around 5:30pm on August 2, last year, Sony was helping them deliver tables to a wedding, after which he took a lorry to clean and slept at home until dawn.

Run Thiday, 28, a villager from Kset commune, said Sony had fallen out with Socheat, the other suspect, for many years.

Tep Phalla, the Svay Rieng provincial court spokesperson, said Thursday the two had been charged with rape and murder of the 18-year-old girl, who worked at Good Luck casino in Bavet provincial town, but that the court had yet to deliver a guilty verdict.

“The provincial court has not decided whether they are guilty,” he said, adding that the case will proceed at an unspecified date.

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