Heng Pov, once Phnom Penh’s most powerful police officer and now serving almost 100 years behind bars for a spate of crimes, squared off once again with the Supreme Court on Wednesday, demanding for the second time in a week access to his frozen bank account to pay for his own lawyer.
Security was tight at the court following a confrontation between prison guards and media last week.
The disgraced former police chief was arrested in 2006 and has amassed a combined 98 years in prison for crimes including conspiracy to murder and possession of $30,000 in counterfeit money.
Mr. Pov, 59, was sentenced for the latter crime in 2007, but his appeal has only recently wound its way to the Supreme Court, where on Wednesday, for the second Wednesday in a row, his request to hire legal representation was denied.
“We’re not authorized to give permission to allow you to withdraw money from your bank account,” said Judge Saly Theara, one of the court’s five judges. “Please read the procedure in the Criminal Code—it will show which authority can give permission.”
The judge declined to say which body that was.
“I don’t want the lawyer the court provided, because I have the ability to pay for a lawyer that I choose myself,” Mr. Pov said.
Judge Theara agreed to delay the case while Mr. Pov finds an attorney, saying that he could use whomever he found to represent him in four other pending appeals.
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