Tougher Sentence at Appeal for Metfone Murderers

The Court of Appeal on Wednesday upheld the guilty verdicts of two men and increased their prison sentences, originally handed down by Preah Vihear Provincial Court, for beating to death the manager of a Metfone branch more than two years ago.

In July 2013, the provincial court charged Vy Sovin, 24, and Soeun Vansy, 30, with intentional violence with aggravating circumstances and sent Vy Sovin to prison for seven years, while Soeun Vansy, who was jailed for a year and seven months, was released from prison on time served in pre-trial detention.

“The court has changed the conviction and sentenced them each to 10 years in prison and orders them to pay 40 million riel ($10,000) in compensation and we also order the arrest of Soeun Vansy,” presiding Judge Oum Sarith said.

In court, Judge Sarith described the events of December 1, 2011, when Men Rithy, who ran a Metfone branch in Kompong Thom province’s Prasat Balaing district, was attacked by the pair—armed with sticks—as he drove with them along National Road 62 in Preah Vihear province’s Rovieng district.

During the trial, it was alleged Men Rithy had been asking Vy Sovin, his subordinate, to pay him $5,000 he was owed for giving the latter Metfone sim cards to sell at his own shop. His repeated requests appeared to infuriate Vy Sovin.

During his original trial, Soeun Vansy testified that he saw Vy Sovin beat Men Rithy when they stopped to urinate, and that he joined in when asked by Vy Sovin.

After the conviction was handed down last July, the lawyer representing the victim’s father and Ouk Savouth, the Appeal Court’s general prosecutor, appealed the decision to hand down sentences they said did not reflect the gravity of the crime.

On Wednesday, Huy Maing, the lawyer representing Men Rithy’s father, Men Lorn, said he was glad the conviction had been upheld.

“I am satisfied that the Court of Appeal’s decision is better than that of the original court, which handed down light sentences,” he said.

“But I am still not satisfied,” he said, adding the law stipulated such a crime could warrant a prison sentence of 15 years.

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