PHNOM PENH —
A lawyer has been assigned to defend the alleged killer of popular social analyst Kem Ley ahead of his trial on March 1.
Yong Phanith, said he was considering requesting the hearing be postponed to provide more time to review the evidence against his client, Oeuth Ang, 43, who stands accused of killing Ley in broad daylight on July 10.
Ang claimed he killed Ley over a $3,000 debt, but evidence has mounted to support the widely held belief that the killing was a politically motivated assassination.
“If the case is complicated, I will request the court to postpone the hearing in order to offer some time to review the case,” Phanith said.
Ang, who originally gave his name as Choub Samlab, which means “Meet Kill” in Khmer, has been charged with premeditated murder and possession of an unlicensed weapon.
He could face a life sentence if he is found guilty.
General Khieu Sopheak, spokesman for the Ministry of Interior, said there would be no further investigation of the case, which would be left in the hands of the courts.
Sous Vichea Randy, City Hall spokesman, declined to comment.
Phanith, who has 20 years of legal experience in Cambodia, said he would “examine all of the evidence and facts”, including reviewing footage from the gas station where Ley was killed, which has not been released to the public.
Heurn Hort, Ang’s wife, said she would not be able to attend the hearing. Neither will Ley’s brother or other relatives, who have said they will not attend unless more evidence and witnesses are presented to the court.
The court in December decided to end its investigation into the incident, while pressure has continued to grow on the court to release the security camera footage.