Cambodia orders review of slain union boss case

Human rights groups say the two men were framed, pointing to the lack of evidence.

Cambodia orders review of slain union boss case

Cambodia's Supreme Court granted bail on Wednesday to two men jailed for the 2004 murder of a prominent union leader and ordered a review of their case, which rights groups say was seriously flawed.

Relatives and friends of Born Samnang and Sok Sam Oeun cheered in the packed courtroom after the judges referred the pair's 2005 convictions for the killing of Chea Vichea to an appeal court for investigation.

"I got bail but the case is not over yet," Born Samnang told Reuters as he left the court to sign his bail papers.

The two were sentenced to 20 years in jail for shooting Chea Vichea, a vocal critic of Cambodia's business and political elite, as he read a newspaper at a newstand in Phnom Penh.

An appeal court in 2007 upheld their convictions, a ruling the United Nations called a "grave injustice" that underlined "continuing impunity" in the Southeast Asian nation.

Human rights groups say the two men were framed, pointing to the lack of evidence and glaring holes in the prosecution's arguments. A key witness in their 2005 trial had testified that neither man was present at the shooting.

The pair told the Supreme Court judges their convictions were a result of beaten confessions while in police custody.

The U.N. human rights envoy to Cambodia said Wednesday's court ruling could pave the way for an "in-depth and thorough revision of the entire case, both on matter of fact, law and procedure, so that a real decision of justice is made."

Reuters
Last Mod: 31 Aralık 2008, 12:25
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