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Amnesty International Pushes for New Arrests in Unionist's Murder


Amnesty International has called on the government to find the true killers of labor leader Chea Vichea, as the courts postponed an appeal last week for two men activists say were wrongly convicted of murder.

The Cambodian Court of Appeals postponed a hearing April 6 on the cases of Born Samnang and Sok Sam Oeun, who were both arrested just after the shooting death of Chea Vichea, an outspoken union leader and labor rights activist. The men each received 20-year sentences.

Amnesty International says the men suffered a "deeply flawed criminal investigation and trial" and "believes the true perpetrators of the murder of Chea Vichea remain at large," according to an April 5 statement.

If the Appeals Court upholds the guilty verdict, the group said, "the true perpetrators will escape accountability for the killing of Chea Vichea, while innocent men will remain in prison."

Chea Vichea was shot dead outside a Phnom Penh newsstand Jan. 22, 2004, in what Amnesty International called a "contract-style killing." At least two other labor leaders have been killed since then, and "many other trade union members have been victims of harassment, intimidation and violence."

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