Warrants Not Issued for 5 Mob Beating Convicts

The Phnom Penh Municipal Court has not issued arrest warrants for five men convicted in absentia for the beating deaths of two teen-age boys in a rare mob killing trial, court officials said last week.

On Sept 16, the court convicted Kea Sokun, Kea Sophea, Kea Min, Lay Chhim and Pov Kong in absentia of killing 17-year-old Huong Kim Yeang and 16-year-old Vann Sandy in a mob killing that took place in Russei Keo district on Dec 31.

The courts also convicted Suong Sovann and his wife Em Sokha for the killing. All men were sentenced to 15 years in prison while Em Sokha was sentenced to spend 12 years behind bars.

While the courts have already sent Em Sokha and Suong Sovann to prison, it has not yet issued arrest warrants for the five men convicted in absentia.

Municipal court judge On Bunna said the arrest warrants have not been issued because the lawyer for the convicted filed for re-trial since the five men were not present during the first trial. By law, the convicted have 15 days to file a complaint for a re-trial.

According to On Bunna, the re-trial, if accepted, would take place after the Pchum Ben holiday.

About 70 people—including the convicted—beat the two teen-agers to death after the boys were falsely accused of stealing a motorcycle.

An estimated 65 people have been killed in mob-related killings since mid-1999, according to a June report by the UN special representative of the secretary general for human rights.

The report states that the lack of faith in the criminal and judicial system is a factor in the mob killings.

“Members of Cambodia’s po­lice forces frequently fail to intervene, and have been directly complicit on several occasions [in mob violence],” the report states.


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