A Change of Guard

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Friday, 28 December 2012

Cambodia court sends "scapegoats" [Born Samnang and Sok Sam Oeun] back to jail for unionist murder

Born Samnang (C) is escorted by police officers at the Appeals Court in central Phnom Penh December 27, 2012. REUTERS/Samrang Pring

Thu Dec 27, 2012 
* Rights groups cry foul, say pair were framed
* Cambodia drawing flak for rights record, judiciary

PHNOM PENH, Dec 27 (Reuters) - A Cambodian court ordered the return to prison on Thursday of two men seen by rights groups as scapegoats for the murder of a top unionist, the latest controversial ruling in a country chided for its low judicial standards.
The Appeals Court upheld a lower court's handing down of 20-year jail terms for Born Samnang and Sok Sam Oeun for the 2004 killing of Free Trade Union (FTU) leader Chea Vichea, despite weak evidence and activist claims the pair were framed.
Following a public outcry, the Supreme Court released the two on bail in 2008 after three years in jail to allow further investigation. The Appeals Court on Thursday made no mention of any new evidence against them.
"Please help me, this is very unjust," Born Samnang shouted as he was taken away by police. He wept and said he would seek help from King Norodom Sihamoni to clear his name.
Cambodia's positive image among investors as one of Asia's most promising emerging economies and a cheaper alternative to China is being dented by allegations of rampant rights abuses and political interference in the judiciary to silence dissent or allow well-connected figures to walk free.
An alliance of 19 local organisations, activists and rights groups condemned the ruling and said the judges chose to "systematically dismiss and ignore evidence and testimonies in favour of the two".
It issued a statement saying both men had credible alibis and a newspaper seller - the only witness to Chea Vichea's murder - and the former lead police investigator had said Born Samnang and Sok Sam Oeun were not the killers.
"This morning's verdict has left us speechless," said Moeun Tola of the Cambodia Legal Education Centre. "The Appeals Court decision defies any sense of justice and rule of law."

Violence against union leaders is not uncommon in Cambodia and activists say scapegoats have been found to ensure those instigating the attacks go unpunished.
As Cambodia's $4.2 billion garment manufacturing sector grows, unions and workers are becoming increasingly emboldened, holding protests and strikes over pay and working conditions.
Rights groups were incensed last week when a local politician connected with the ruling party was cleared by a court of firing bullets into a crowd of striking factory workers earlier this year, wounding three women.
Chea Mony, the current FTU president and brother of the late Chea Vichea, said he was shocked by Thursday's ruling and criticised the authorities for failing to bring the real culprits to justice.
"We have not seen any light of justice at all in this case," Chea Mony told Reuters. "The court is well aware of what's going on and that it lacks its independence."


Anonymous said...

Chhouk Bandit , Mam Sonando & Chea Vichea cases were
done to mock U N envoys ( Brad Adam , Subedi ) statement on Hun Sen's Human Right and to send a strong
message to US senators & US president that Hun Sen is
not afraid of anyone and his political tool can abuse or
prosecute any Cambodian at anytime . So, Hun Sen is telling Obama : YANKE STAY OUT OF CAMBODIA !

Anonymous said...

Cambodian Tribunal: How can you sleep peacefully after you put in Jail innocent victims?

Only Brainless people do such a thing like that.

A cambodian student

Anonymous said...

28 December 2012 12:30 AM,

Because the Vietnamese secret agents/military uniforms are behind all sorts of situations and protected Hun Sen.

Are the UN, USA and EU waking up yet about the Vietnamese master-minded bastards are behind all these problems in Cambodia?

Khmer people will think whether or not it is a different kind of Killing Fields created by the current Vietnamese Hanoi masters (Hun Sen's mad and evil bosses who worship evil Ho Chi Minh and follow Ho Chi Minh's dream) in the modern day in the blind eyes of the International Community. The Khmer/Cambodian people can stand up alone to fight back by forming the millions of Khmer people as a the largest unity along real Khmer armies. They (Khmer people and soldiers) know they are facing the deadly threats and real deaths down the road. They (Khmer) will sacrifice to fight back very soon if Hun Sen and his CPP cronies are very stubborn and stupid. It will happen like Syrian people. Who knows? Sam Rainsy and Khem Sokha's party members will join forces with the International Community to fight back and ask the UN and International Community to put sanctions against the Communist Vietnam. Laos opposition part members will ask the UN and International Community to put sanctions against the evil Communist Vietnam, too.

Evil Communist Vietnam is the same as Yugoslavia.

Anonymous said...

12:30 AM, I agree with you 100%. Hun Sen wants to show to the UN and America that he doesn't care about what they had said about his human rights records. He wanted to show them that "scream all you like and I don't care".
Born Samnang and Sok Sam Oeun are completely innocent. The real killers were Hun Sen's death squad because Chea Vichea was his fiercest critic at the time. I think Hun Sen is trying to commit suicide because the more he becomes dictatorial, the more he will face strong oppositions from abroad and from within, including from his own party.