The Court of Appeal yesterday postponed hearing the case of a former soldier sentenced to life in prison for slaying prominent political analyst Kem Ley.
Presiding Judge Chay Chandaravan said the court postponed the hearing of Oeurth Ang, also known as Chuob Samlab, which translates to Meet Kill, because the accused who has been jailed in Prey Sar prison was not brought to the hearing.
“It is a felony case with a serious sentence and the accused person must be present, so the presiding judges have decided to delay the hearing,” Judge Chandaravan said.
Judge Chandaravan said the court issued a summons on March 14 to bring Mr Ang to the court, and noted he was unsure why prison guards did not bring him to the hearing.
A new hearing date has not yet been set, he added.
Mr Ley was gunned down on July 10, 2016, at a coffee shop in a gas station in Phnom Penh’s Chamkar Mon district. Mr Ley’s murderer was caught minutes after fleeing the scene.
In March last year, Phnom Penh Municipal Court sentenced Mr Ang to life in prison on charges of premeditated murder and carrying a weapon without authorisation.
Lor Kim Ghech, defence lawyer for Mr Ang, said that he agreed with the judges to put off the hearing.
“I met with my client and he wanted to come to the hearing, but prison guards did not bring him to the court because they did not see the summons,” Mr Kim Ghech said.
“Although a prosecutor of the Court of Appeal had already issued a summons, sometimes it does not arrive at the prison,” he added.
San Keo, spokesman for the General Department of Prisons, said that he was unaware of the case because he was on holiday.
Mr Keo referred questions to Kheang Lay, director of the Security and Transportation Department, who said he would have to check on the case.
“Let me check this information because now my superior is busy in a meeting and cannot answer questions right away,” Mr Lay said.
After Mr Ley’s funeral ceremony, his wife Bou Rachana and her five sons left Cambodia for Thailand on August 28, 2016, after receiving refugee status from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.
In February, they arrived in Melbourne, Australia, where they have been granted residency.