Appeals Court Upholds Sath Soeun’s Sentence

The Appeals Court on Monday up­held a 10-year sentence for a former RCAF colonel who became one of Cambodia’s most notorious criminals in the 1990s, and whose rep­utation for ruthlessness earned him the nickname “Master of the Earth,” officials said.

Sath Soeun, 50, was not present at his hearing, owing to the ex­pense and security risks involved in transporting such a dangerous pris­oner from Kompong Cham province to the courthouse in Phnom Penh, Kompong Cham Provincial Court Judge Sim Kuch said.

The hearing was Sath Soeun’s second at the Appeals Court, which in 2005 imposed a 10-year sentence for attempted murder, a verdict he appealed.

“We kept our initial sentence [for Sath Soeun] the same: ten years in prison for his crime,” Ap­peals Court Judge Thou Mony said.

Although Sath Soeun has many grisly killings attributed to him, in­cluding shooting dead a young boy in 1995 and famously telling wit­nesses that the executed boy should be “fed to the fishes,” the Appeals Court ruling on Mon­­day stemmed from his shooting of another RCAF officer in 2004.

At his provincial court trial in 2004, Sath Soeun said that the shooting was an accident because his victim did not die. If he had wanted to really kill his victim, Sath Soeun said, he would not have failed.

“I would have shot him in the head,” Sath Soeun told the court at the time.

But “the Master of the Earth” has not yet conceded defeat; his law­yer will appeal the latest decision to the Supreme Court, Sim Kuch said.

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