Heng Pov Rejects Judge’s Murder Conviction

Former Phnom Penh police chief Heng Pov on Tuesday rejected his conviction for the murder of a judge, claiming he was framed for the crime after falling out with top government officials.

In a statement issued by his Australian lawyer David Chen, Heng Pov denied all responsibility for the 2003 slaying of Sok Sethamony, for which the court sentenced him to 18 years in prison on Monday.

“I did not kill Sok Sethamony nor do I know who actually killed him,” Heng Pov wrote. “I have never committed the crimes they accused me of.”

Five other former police officials who were close associates of Heng Pov were given 16-year sentences by the court for orchestrating the killing. They were also ordered to pay $300,000 compensation to the victim’s widow.

Heng Pov’s statement reiterated claims he made last month that National Police Commissioner Hok Lundy grew angry with him for his disobedience and Prime Minister Hun Sen turned against him because of his contacts with opposition politicians and human rights groups.

In December, Hok Lundy vow-ed “that he would melt me like water,” Heng Pov claimed in his latest statement.

“In Cambodia, one cannot get justice involving senior ranking government officials such as Hun Sen and Hok Lundy,” Heng Pov alleged. He also said he would have been killed if he had re­turned to stand trial.

Hok Lundy dismissed the allegations. “He’s just attacking me and making accusations against me,” Hok Lundy said Tuesday, before declining further comment.

Municipal Prosecutor Ouk Savouth also shrugged off Heng Pov’s claims.

“The court does not do anything without evidence and law,” he said.

Interior Minister spokesman Khieu Sopheak also said Heng Pov’s claims should not be taken seriously. “No one can shut his mouth,” he said. “Because he lost the case, he has to find any argument to support himself.”

 

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