Court Upholds Convictions In Monivong Bridge Clash Case

The Appeal Court on Monday upheld the intentional violence convictions against three men over a September 2013 clash between police and civilians on Phnom Penh’s Monivong Bridge during which security forces shot dead a bystander.

Va Noeun, 40; Lanh Samoeun, 19; and Nguyen Ti Tek, 20, were all found guilty of intentional violence with aggravating circumstances by the Phnom Penh Municipal Court in March for their role in the clash, which started when police blocked the bridge at the end of the first of a three-day planned protest by the opposition CNRP.

Mr. Noeun and Mr. Samoeun were sentenced to time served in pre-trial detention and released. Mr. Ti Tek was sentenced to three years in prison but had his time commuted to 12 months and has since been released. Three other defendants were acquitted.

The Appeal Court heard their case in October and announced its decision to uphold their convictions Monday.

“The Appeal Court has decided to uphold the verdict of the Phnom Penh Municipal Court, which found them guilty of taking part in the demonstration,” Judge Phou Povsun told the court. “They really took part in the demonstration by throwing stones and using sticks to attack the 54 police who were injured during the clash.”

None of the defendants came to court to hear the decision. Their lawyer, Pen Sovany, declined to comment.

Mr. Samoeun, who said he was too busy with work to attend, rejected the decision and reiterated his innocence.

“I cannot accept the Appeal Court’s decision because I didn’t do what they accuse me of,” he said. “I will talk to my lawyer about appealing to the Supreme Court.”

The other two defendants could not be reached.

Am Sam Ath, technical super- visor for rights group Licadho, which provided the lawyer for the men, criticized the decision and faulted the justice system for its failure to hold anyone accountable for the death of Mao Sok Chan, a motorbike courier who was shot and killed during the clash.

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