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King Sihanouk Decries Parody of Justice

In a suprised letter to the parents of Sok Sam Oeun and Born Samnang dated August 2nd, former King Norodom Sihanouk said the two men were not Chea Vichea's killers.

The former king said he hopes one day the court will admit its mistake and release the two innocent men.

Sok Sam Oeun and Mr. Born Samnang were sentenced on Monday to 20 years in prison each for killing union leader Chea Vichea on January 22 2004.

King Sihanouk told the two men's parents that their sons are only scapegoats, while the real murderers are still at large.

Local and international NGOs and human rights groups strongly criticized the court's decision saying the two men are not the real killers. The United States embassy in Phnom Penh said the court's decision was based on very little evidence and said it is following the case closely.

The judge who gave Sok Sam Oeun and Born Samnang a twenty-year sentence could not be reached for comments on the King's letter. However, in reaction to the human rights complaint about the case, he said he found the two men guilty based on enough evidence.