Heng Pov Gets 16 Years for Murder Conspiracy

The Phnom Penh Municipal Court added another 16 years to the prison sentence of disgraced former municipal police chief Heng Pov on Thursday for being party to an unsuccessful conspiracy to kill national military police commander Sao Sokha in 2003.

With the new sentence the once powerful policeman has been handed a total sentence of 74 years and 9 months for a variety of crimes.

Judge Iv Kimsry also sentenced former municipal minor crime dep-uty police chief Ly Rasy to 15 years in prison for his role in the conspiracy, a decision based only on confessions made by suspects to the military police in 2006 and an anonymous 2003 letter implicating the accused, who stood trial Tuesday.

Former military police officer Hang Vutha, former Interior Min-istry penal police officer Oum Sam-kheng and municipal minor crime police officer Prum Sophearith re-ceived 15 years each in prison, as did former municipal police officer Hang Vuthy, who hasn’t been seen since he broke out of Prey Sar pris-on in 2006.

“I believe that I gave the punishments because there is inculpatory [evidence],” Iv Kimsry said by telephone Thursday.

During the trial on Tuesday, Ly Rasy, Hang Vutha and Oum Sam-kheng testified that military police had tortured them to get the confessions that were used against them.

“I deny all the answers to author-ities because they tortured me,” Hang Vutha said Tuesday. “They electrocuted me until [I was] un-conscious; the torture was more than Pol Pot,” he told the court.

Lawyer Long Dara, representing Ly Rasy and Oum Samkheng, at-tacked the court during the trial for ignoring the torture allegations by the accused. “The court, in every case, has never taken this into consideration,” Long Dara said.

Deputy Prosecutor Ek Cheng Huot said Thursday that he didn’t know whether or not to investigate the torture allegations made by the accused during the trial.

Heng Pov’s lawyer Kao Soupha scoffed at the verdict.

“I want to laugh; the court’s trial was great—only one anonymous letter can put someone in prison for 16 years,” he said.

Sao Sokha could not be reached for comment on Thursday.

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