ITUC: Release Pair Convicted of Chea Vichea Murder

The International Trade Union Confederation has written to Prime Minister Hun Sen calling for the immediate release of the two men serving 20-year sentences for the 2004 killing of union leader Chea Vichea.

The Appeals Court decision on Thursday to uphold the guilty verdict for Born Samnang and Sok Sam Oeun, whom many believe to be innocent, was a “double travesty of justice,” the ITUC said in a statement received Monday.

“Not only have two innocent men been condemned to lengthy prison terms, but the real perpetrators of this vicious crime have gone unpunished,” said ITUC General Secretary Guy Ryder.

The Brussels-based ITUC, which claims to represent millions of workers worldwide, also criticized the continuing climate of violence against Cambodian unions and the lack of action by authorities over the most recent killing of a trade unionist.

Hy Vuthy, 36, who was also a member of the late Chea Vichea’s Free Trade Union, was shot dead on Feb 25 as he drove home from work at a Phnom Penh garment factory.

“We are calling on Prime Minis­ter Hun Sen’s government to en­sure that genuine justice is done,” Ry­der wrote in the statement.

Phnom Penh Municipal Police Chief Touch Naruth said Monday that police have two suspects in the Hy Vuthy case and have asked the municipal court to issue warrants for their arrests.

Touch Naruth declined to identify the suspects, but said that they both live in Dangkao district.

“They are on the run,” he added.

FTU President Chea Mony reiterated Monday that he believes the killing of his brother, Chea Vichea, was state sponsored and that the real killers will never be found.

“I do not believe the government will ever arrest the killers because the government initiated the kill­ing,” he alleged.

Nguon Nhel, CPP National As­sembly first deputy president, responded to the ITUC by saying the government does not control the courts. “The prime minister cannot interfere in the courts,” he said. “The prime minister has reformed the judicial system already.”


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