Court Hears Former KR Commander’s Appeal

Former Khmer Rouge commander Sam Bith’s appeal against a December 2002 verdict that sentenced him to life in prison for or­dering a 1994 train ambush that killed 13 Cambo­dians and three foreigners was held in his absence Tuesday morning, court officials and family members said.

Investigating Appeal Court Judge Saly Theara said that the court will announce the verdict on April 5.

“My husband cannot speak or sit. His case should be finished,” Sam Bith’s wife, Khim Ry, said on Tuesday.

Sam Bith has been unable to speak and has had his right arm paralyzed since falling victim to a stroke while detained at Prey Sar prison in September.

He was transferred to Calmette Hospital a month later when Prey Sar officials affirmed that they were unable to treat him.

Sam Bith is currently at Moni­vong Hospital in Phnom Penh.

In Kampot province, the hunt for former Khmer Rouge commander Chhouk Rin continues, police said.

Chhouk Rin, Sam Bith’s former military subordinate in the Kam­pot area, whose appeal against a life sentence for his role in the train ambush failed last month at the Supreme Court, has been hiding in the jungle surrounding Phnom Voar since a warrant was issued for his arrest.

One of Chhouk Rin’s four children, Phear, 13, said Tuesday that her father visits the family every once in a while.

Kal Sinath, deputy chief of Serious Crimes for Kep municipality, said four policemen have been assigned to keep tabs on Chhouk Rin’s family members to help locate the fugitive.

“We are working hard because we are worried about being ac­cused of ignoring the case,” he said.

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