A Belgian national who has been jailed in Kampot for almost a year as the lone suspect in the murder of a French tourist early last year was released Friday on bail, according to authorities.
Oliver van den Bogaert, 41, was arrested in April 2013, 10 weeks after the body of Ophelie Begnis, 25, washed up on the riverbank in Kampot City. The Appeal Court last week ordered him released on bail from Kampot Provincial Prison due to a lack of evidence in his case.
“We did not have sufficient evidence to inculpate him, so Appeal Court Judge Khun Leang Meng ordered his release,” said Seng Sivutha, deputy director of the Appeal Court, adding that the prosecutor would have 15 days to appeal.
Em Bov, director of the Kampot provincial prison, confirmed that Mr. van den Bogaert had been released Friday after the prison received the order from the Appeal Court on Thursday.
Mr. van den Bogaert was charged with the murder on April 25 last year after a witness claimed to have seen him in possession of a bicycle that Opehlie Begnis had been riding the day she disappeared.
The accused and his lawyer professed Mr. van den Bogaert’s innocence as Kampot police failed to bring any further evidence against him.
In March 2013, a forensics team from France investigated the murder but also found no evidence to tie Mr. van den Bogaert to the murder.