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Heng Pov Wins Asylum in Finland

Heng Pov has reportedly been granted political asylum status by Finland, according to his wife.

Speaking to VOA Khmer service by phone Wednesday morning from Malaysia, Ngin Sotheary, Heng Pov's wife, said the Finnish embassy in Kuala Lumpur issued her husband a visa today.

Heng Pov was Prime Minister Hun Sen's adviser and former Ministry of Interior's Secretary.

He reportely received permission from the Ministry of the Interior to go to Singapore for medical treatment.

He was later charged by the Cambodian government of serious crimes including the killing of former judge Sok Sethamony.

Heng Pov was arrested in Malaysia on October for immigration violations in overstaying his visa.

Phnom Penh Municipal court sentenced him in absentia, to 18 years in prison, while the Malaysia court was set to hear his case on December 13.

For the past 5 months, Heng Pov has been actively seeking political asylum while hiding in an undisclosed place in Malaysia.

Cambodian Ministry of Interior spokesman Khieu Sopheak questioned the alleged letter of support from the Finnish government, but said that the decision in issuing a visa to Heng Pov, is a disappointment.

VOA tried to reach the Finnish Embassy in Kuala Lumpur by phone for comment, but our call was not answered.