The lawyer for former Khmer Rouge regional commander Sam Bith announced Monday that he might drop his jailed client, who is awaiting trial in the Appeals Court.
“Sam Bith asked me last week [through his wife] to continue to help protect him in court, but I am lazy and I am very busy with my work,” Kar Savuth said by telephone.
Sam Bith is being held for alleged involvement in a 1994 train ambush that resulted in 16 deaths, including three Western backpackers who were held hostage and then executed.
Kar Savuth said that Sam Bith’s wife, Kim Ry, frequently visits him and begs for him to continue arguing her husband’s case.
“I have been his lawyer for more than one year, but I never get any profit from him and his wife,” Kar Savuth said.
“I have been the lawyer for many Khmer Rouge since the 1980s. Some I could help get acquitted, and some not,” he said.
“I never think about money and expenses for work if [the clients] are really poor, but Sam Bith is rich and he has cars, big houses in Battambang province and Phnom Penh and big land.”
But the lawyer added that he has not decided for sure yet. “I do not yet deny his request, but I told [Kim Ry] that I am very busy with my work,” he said.
Kim Ry could not be reached for comment on Monday.
Kar Savuth also serves as lawyer for Duch, the former director of the Tuol Sleng prison and torture center.
“Duch’s health is good. He is fat and his skin has whitened because he is comfortable and has enough food,” Kar Savuth said.
“Before he was jailed, he was poor and skinny. He did not have food, but now he has enough food and his kilograms are increasing and he exercises every day.”