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Kem Ley Murderer Appeals Life Sentence


Oeut Ang, known as Choub Samlap or 'meet kill,' sits in a prison truck outside of Phnom Penh Municipal Court, Friday March 24, 2017. (Hean Socheata/ VOA Khmer)

Oeut Ang claimed to have carried out the murder over a $3,000 debt.

Oeut Ang, the man sentenced to life over the killing of a prominent government critic, Kem Ley, in July last year, has appealed the court’s decision, his lawyer has said.

Ang, who during the proceedings identified himself as Choub Samlap, which means “meet kill” in Khmer, was sentenced on March 23 for the murder of Ley, who was killed in a daylight shooting at a Caltex gas station in Phnom Penh on July 11.

The authorities detained Ang shortly after the incident. He claimed to have carried out the murder over a $3,000 debt.

Yung Phanith, Ang’s lawyer, said the appeal was made as a life sentence would not allow Ang the opportunity to reform.

Yung Phanith, lawyer for Oeut Ang, talked to reporters after the hearing of Kem Ley’s murder case outside of Phnom Penh Municipal Court, Phnom Penh, Cambodia, March 1, 2017.
Yung Phanith, lawyer for Oeut Ang, talked to reporters after the hearing of Kem Ley’s murder case outside of Phnom Penh Municipal Court, Phnom Penh, Cambodia, March 1, 2017.

He added that Ang regretted his actions and hoped the court would reconsider the life sentence.

“We have looked at his actions ... it happened after he had met a bad person. He has realized he needs to correct himself and will use [this lesson] to serve society,” Phanith said.

Y Rin, municipal court spokesman, said the appeal would be formally lodged with the Court of Appeals this week.

Ley’s killing came amid heightened political tensions in the run up to local elections in June and a general election scheduled for next year.

Civil society groups accused the municipal court of conducting a poor investigation into the murder, ignoring key witnesses and evidence pointing to a wider plot to kill Kem Ley, which many believe was orchestrated by members of the security forces.

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