Cambodia: Court upholds Kem Ley killer’s ‘unfair’ conviction

Chuob Samlap is escorted by a member of security force as he arrives for his appeal hearing at the Supreme Court on May 8. Photo: Hong Menea

The lawyer of Oeut Ang, the man convicted of killing popular activist Kem Ley in 2016, told The Post on Sunday that he considered the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold his client’s whole-life prison sentence as “unfair”. The ruling was delivered on Friday.

Oeut Ang, who after his arrest gave police the name Choub Samlab – which means “meet to kill” in Khmer – said he shot Ley over a $3,000 debt – something dismissed by Ley’s family.

Kem Ley, 45, was shot twice with a Glock handgun at a Caltex petrol station cafe on the capital’s Monivong Boulevard on July 10, 2016.

Defence lawyer Im Mach told The Post that his client found the ruling unfair as more brutal murders had received lesser sentences.

“He filed an appeal with the Supreme Court because he thinks a whole-life jail sentence is too harsh, but the sentence was upheld. My client finds the ruling of the Supreme Court really unfair.”

“I personally think other murders were far more brutal and the offenders in these cases were not given whole-life jail sentences. My client’s punishment is most severe when compared to those handed down in other murder cases,” Mach said.

At the hearing, Ang confessed to killing Ley and requested the court to reduce his sentence, after Phnom Penh Municipal Court handed down a whole-life jail term on March 1, 2017, for premeditated murder and illegal gun possession.

He was convicted under articles 200 and 490 of the Criminal Code after the original trial, with the judge noting that Ang had confessed to shooting Ley.

Ang’s defence lawyer Yong Phanit filed an appeal with the Appeal Court arguing that a whole-life jail term was too “heavy”. The Appeal Court upheld the original sentence on May 11 last year.

High-profile political analyst Ley was shot twice at point-blank range at around 9am while he enjoyed his regular morning coffee at a petrol station on Monivong Boulevard, a moment captured on CCTV footage that was shown to the court at the original trial.

Ang, a native of Siem Reap province, was arrested soon after the shooting around 2km away.

Police stationed near the intersection of Monivong and Mao Tse Tuong boulevards chased Ang, who fled on foot, and fired two shots before confronting him near Svay Porpea pagoda on Sothearos Boulevard, The Post reported at the time.

Source: PhnompenhPost

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