Human Rights

No Decision from Appeals Court in High Profile Unionist Murder

After the Jan. 22, 2004, shooting of Chea Vichea, two suspects, Born Samnang and Sok Samoeun, were taken into custody, but they soon became known as the “plastic,” or false, killers.

A scene from the documentary "Who Killed Chea Vichea?" Chea Vichea, a popular Cambodian union leader, was assassinated on January 22, 2004, in Phnom Penh.A scene from the documentary "Who Killed Chea Vichea?" Chea Vichea, a popular Cambodian union leader, was assassinated on January 22, 2004, in Phnom Penh.
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A scene from the documentary "Who Killed Chea Vichea?" Chea Vichea, a popular Cambodian union leader, was assassinated on January 22, 2004, in Phnom Penh.
A scene from the documentary "Who Killed Chea Vichea?" Chea Vichea, a popular Cambodian union leader, was assassinated on January 22, 2004, in Phnom Penh.
Heng ReaksmeyVOA Khmer
PHNOM PENH - The Court of Appeals has yet to come to a decision on a longstanding and highly controversial case over the murder of a labor activist in 2004, a court official said Monday.

After the Jan. 22, 2004, shooting of Chea Vichea, two suspects, Born Samnang and Sok Samoeun, were taken into custody, but they soon became known as the “plastic,” or false, killers.

They were held in prison despite repeated pleas by rights groups and others, who said they had been framed and unfairly prosecuted, until their 2009 provisional release, ordered by the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court also ordered the Appeals Court to rehear the case, which it did on Nov. 7.

Appeals Court chief judge Chourn Sunleng told VOA Khmer on Monday that the court needs more time to consider the case.

Chea Mony, brother of the slain activist and current head of the Free Trade Union, said the killing was “politically motivated,” which has caused a delay in the courts.

Chea Vichea was a renowned activist, able to rally tens of thousands of workers at a tumultuous time in the country’s labor industry. He was shot and killed in broad daylight at a newspaper kiosk in Phnom Penh by two men on motorcycle. No other suspects have ever been arrested.

Chea Mony and other workers laid a wreath at the site of the murder last week and have called on the police to re-open an investigation into the killing.
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