Court Releases on Bail Woman Accused of Murdering Mother

The Koh Kong Provincial Court on Friday granted bail to a woman accused of hacking her own mother to death, a charge the family and a rights group deny.

Days after the murder of Meng Sai, 53, who was killed with an ax on May 28 in Khemara Phoumint City, police pinned the crime on the victim’s daughter, Pann Ney Sin, 31, based on testimony from one of Ms. Ney Sin’s friends.

Witnesses said they had seen the friend, Chea Mom, in the area at the time of the murder. She was detained for questioning and a necklace and bracelet belonging to the dead woman were recovered from her home.

Ms. Mom told police that she had witnessed Ms. Ney Sin carry out the murder, and that the daughter had bribed her with her mother’s jewelry to ditch a bloody ax and keep quiet.

Investigating Judge Min Makara on Sunday confirmed that he had released Ms. Ney Sin on bail, but declined to discuss the case. Ms. Mom remains in prison as an accomplice to the murder.

Lay Meng Laing, chief of the provincial police’s minor crimes bureau, said Judge Makara wrote to the Ministry of Justice last week to say that the case against Ms. Ney Sin lacked evidence.

“I don’t understand and don’t know what to say,” said Mr. Meng Laing, who oversaw the investigation and stands by its conclusion. “We collected 70 to 80 percent of the evidence, but if the court thinks there is not enough evidence to charge the suspect, it is their discretion.”

Nhieb Samoeun, provincial coordinator for rights group Adhoc, who wrote to the judge two weeks ago requesting Ms. Ney Sin’s release, said Friday’s bail decision was overdue.

According to Mr. Samoeun, an Adhoc investigation had found that Ms. Ney Sin was seen by multiple people at a market when she was supposed to have been killing her mother. He said family members had also attested to an excellent relationship between mother and daughter.

“We welcome the release, but the court should have released the suspect earlier than this,” he said.

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