Court Upholds Ex-Cop’s Murder Conviction

The Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Thursday upheld its original 2009 conviction of former municipal penal police officer Hang Vuthy for his role in a failed 2003 plot to murder National Military Police Commander Sao Sokha.

Mr. Vuthy had been convicted and sentenced to 15 years in prison, and was granted a retrial last week, when the municipal court also denied his request for bail.

Former municipal penal police officer Hang Vuthy leaves the Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Thursday after his 2009 conviction over a failed plot to murder National Military Police Commander Sao Sokha was upheld. (Siv Channa/The Cambodia Daily)
Former municipal penal police officer Hang Vuthy leaves the Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Thursday after his 2009 conviction over a failed plot to murder National Military Police Commander Sao Sokha was upheld. (Siv Channa/The Cambodia Daily)

“The court has decided to uphold the criminal conviction of the municipal court dated March 12, 2009,” Judge Top Chhun Heng said Thursday, without explaining the reasons for the decision.

Mr. Vuthy filed an appeal against both the decision and last week’s bail denial immediately after Thursday’s announcement. The disgraced police official claims that his confession was extracted through torture, and has complained that he was implicated in the plot in an anonymous letter.

“I do not accept this verdict and I want the court to show me the proof, and the witness, and that the court didn’t just rely on an anonymous letter to punish me,” Mr. Vuthy said. “I appealed the verdict because it is not fair…. There is no country in the world that uses anonymous letters to sentence people.

“If the court has evidence and witnesses, I will agree to go to jail for my whole life,” he added.

Mr. Vuthy was convicted of the crime in absentia, having escaped from Prey Sar prison in 2006, where he had been serving a 45-year sentence for his involvement in the shooting of a municipal court judge in broad daylight in 2003.

In 2012, he abruptly turned himself in to authorities, claiming that he had been forced to flee his imprisonment.

Mr. Vuthy was convicted in the murder-plot case along with five other police officers, three of whom also said during their 2009 trial that they had been tortured into confessing.

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