Newly Found Evidence Will Free Nuon Paet, Lawyer Says Claims

The lawyer for a man serving a life sentence for his role in the 1994 deaths of three Western backpackers and more than a dozen Cambodians says he’s unearthed new evidence that will free his client.

Nuon Paet, a former Khmer Rouge guerrilla, was convicted last year for ordering the 1994 train raid that led to the kidnapping and subsequent murder of Australian David Wilson, 29, Briton Mark Slater, 28, and Jean-Michel Braquet, 27, of France.

His case goes to appeal in Phnom Penh on September 20.

Defense lawyer Dy Borima said he has found six new witnesses who will testify his client knew nothing of the killings.

One witness, known as San, said he was with Nuon Paet at the time of the killing, half a kilometer from where the backpackers were shot and buried, according to Dy Borima.

“Nuon Paet [was] talking to businessmen who bought his cows,” Dy Borima quoted the man as saying.

When he learned of the killings, Dy Borima continued, Nuon Paet was “very surprised and very worried….He asked military commander Vith Vorn why he killed them. Vith Vorn replied it was on orders from senior officials.”

Dy Borima said two other people allege it was Sam Bith, not Nuon Paet, who ordered the executions. He said he found other new evidence but declined to specify what it is.

Sam Bith, a former Khmer Rouge commander also accused of leading the raid, remains free. He did not show up for a summon to court last January.

A third Khmer Rouge leader, Chhouk Rin, was charged and jailed for leading the train raid, but was released last month after a judge ruled he could not be prosecuted. The judge cited a law passed just two weeks before the train attack granting immunity to Khmer Rouge who defected to the government.

Chhouk Rin defected 10 weeks after the attack.

Both Chhouk Rin and Sam Bith testified against Nuon Paet during his trial.



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