The Appeal Court on Thursday reduced the prison sentence of Pech Sonet from 165 to 19 years, while three of her co-defendants also had their jail terms reduced. Two co-defendants were released.
“In some cases, the team shot the victims dead, and in other cases they pointed a gun at the victims to steal their property,” Judge Yon Narong said during the hearing.
Alongside Sonet at the hearing were her five co-defendants – Set Mat Rozet, also known as Set Dieng, 22; Pen Chamnab, also known as A’Pin, 19; Nhem Kanitha, also known as A’mey, 22; Im Sopheak, 23; and Arifin.
Sopheak and Arifin were acquitted of all charges and released.
The Appeal Court upheld Sonet’s convictions in only two cases of the nine for which she was originally convicted, according to Articles 353, 357, 360 and 490 of the Criminal Code.
Her convictions for aggravated theft resulting in the death of an individual in Tuol Kork district’s Boeung Kak I commune and illegally possessing a weapon on December 9, 2015 were upheld.
Sonet also had her conviction upheld for allowing her accomplices to hide a stolen motorcycle in her rented room.
Three of Sonet’s accomplices were convicted of aggravated theft resulting in the death of an individual and illegally possessing a weapon.
Chamnab was sentenced to nine years in prison for his involvement in each of two cases, 20 years for one case and 23 years for another – a total of 61 years.
Rozet was sentenced to nine years for one case and eight and a half-years for another. Two other cases landed him sentences of 20 and 23 years respectively – totalling 60 years and six months.
Kanitha, the only other female defendant, was convicted for three cases and received a total of 32 years for the same charges as Sonet.
She received eight years in prison for the first offence, 18 years for the second while the third got her a further six years.
Sonet’s defence lawyer Lim Chanlida said she would have to speak to her client before deciding if the court’s decision would be appealed.
Khiev Tola, defence lawyer for the five other defendants could not be reached for comment.
The six defendants were originally given prison sentences ranging from 65 to 165 years by the Phnom Penh Municipal Court on August 12, 2016.
Two additional suspects – Taing Mey and Mat Lim, the boyfriends of Sonet and Kanitha respectively – were shot dead in a gunfight with authorities at Phnom Baset Mountain in the capital’s Prek Pnov district.