A man was sentenced to 25 years in prison for killing two park rangers in the Aural Wildlife Sanctuary last year, a Kompong Speu provincial court judge said on Sunday.
Sentenced on Feb 23, Brak Mean was also ordered to pay 10 million riel ($2,500) to the victims’ families, said Judge You Youen Ny.
Ministry of Environment rangers Kim Poch, 39, and Nuon Chorn, 27, were reportedly ambushed by gunmen in Tropeang Chour commune on September 28, 2005.
The killing was apparently in retribution for their attempts to stop illegal logging.
Two other suspects in the case, Brak Moeun and Bun Sun, were each sentenced to six months in jail for illegal possession of weapons—they were not the killers, Judge You Youen Ny said.
Charges against two others, Phork Peal and Kim Poch, were dropped by investigating Judge Phang Samon on Jan 6, said Aural Wildlife Sanctuary office adviser Ham Phirath, who added that the light sentences for two of the suspects and the release of two others seemed an injustice.
Mike Appleton, project manager for the NGO Flora & Fauna International, which operates in the Aural Wildlife Sanctuary, agreed that the sentences seemed light.
“We’re surprised at the lightness of the sentences of the accomplices,” Appleton said.
“There are to our knowledge at least four other people who are still being sought by the police, and two of them were directly involved with the murders.”