Chea Vichea Hearing Delayed Indefinitely

The Appeal Court on Tuesday indefinitely delayed the hearing of Born Samnang and Sok Sam Oeun, the two men controversially convicted for killing Free Trade Union leader Chea Vichea in 2004.

Chuon Sunleng, chief of the three-judge panel, told the court Tuesday that a lawyer representing Chea Vichea’s family had requested the delay. “The victim side has asked for the delay because a law-

yer is on a necessary mission,” Judge Chuon Sunleng said. “So the council agrees with the request.”

The Supreme Court on Dec 31 ordered that Mr Born Samnang and Mr Sok Sam Oeun, whom many believe to be innocent scapegoats, be released and that the Appeal Court reinvestigate the case. At the time of their release, the pair had already served near-

ly five years of a 20-year prison

Judge Chuon Sunleng explained later by telephone Tuesday that the purpose of the Appeal Court hearing was to once again take the testimonies of the pair as a starting point to reinvestigating the case.

“The Supreme Court ordered the reinvestigation,” Mr Chuon Sun-

leng said. “We must follow the Supreme Court. If they want to keep the old testimonies, they can do it.”

Mr Sok Sam Oeun’s attorney Hong Kimsuon told reporters at the court that he welcomed the postponement. “It is good because Sok Sam Oeun’s father has just died,” he said. “He is sad and his feelings are not focused.”

Chea Vichea’s brother and current leader of the Free Trade Union, Chea Mony, said that his new attorney, Chan Socheat of NGO Legal Aid of Cambodia, had requested the delay so that he could have time to study the case file.

Mr Sok Sam Oeun said Tuesday that his father, Von Phon, died April 12 at the age of 59 from an un-

known illness, but added that he was ready to go to court when called.

“Whenever [the court] needs me, I will come whenever,” he said.

Mr Born Samnang could not be reached for comment Tuesday.


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