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Two inmates ask Supreme Court to have their convictions overturned

Buth Reamey Kongkea / Khmer Times No Comments Share:
Vang Chantha, left and Bo Hokkea, right. KT/ Pann Rachana

Two people sentenced to 14 years in prison each for killing a barmaid during an argument in Banteay Meanchey province in August 2016 are at the Supreme Court appealing to be released from prison.

In 2017, Bo Hokkea, 30, a former soldier and Vang Chantha, 29, a former motorbike taxi driver, were found guilty of “intentional acts of violence with aggravating circumstances and unauthorised weapon possession” under Articles 199 and 490 of the Criminal Code by provincial court over the death of 23-year-old Tith Pheakdey.

Ms Pheakdey worked at a karaoke bar in the city’s Kbal Spean village.

Both men appealed at the Appeal Court to have their conviction dropped after proclaiming innocence, but the higher court upheld the provincial court’s decision. Their appeal case is now being heard by the Supreme Court.

They reiterated their innocence in front of Supreme Court judges during hearing, noting neither of them knew nor killed the victim.

Chantha told the court that he was a motorbike taxi driver who worked nights in Poipet.

He said he was arrested September 14, 2016, at about 10:30 pm after borrowing a pistol from Hokkea and having a drink at a nightclub in the city.

Chantha said he was on his motorbike when was arrested at a police checkpoint.

“After the arrest, police seized the pistol from me and accused me of being a killer who shot the victim in August,” he said. “Police later detained me at a police station.”

Chantha said police then ordered him to contact Hokkea so police can arrest him.

“I confess that I carried the gun on the day of my arrest, but I did not kill the victim,” he said. “I am innocent. May the Supreme Court find truth and justice for me and release me.”

Hokkea said he bought the gun from an unidentified man for personal use.

“I did not know the victim nor did I have an argument with her,” he said. “I do not know who killed her.”

A verdict is due on April 1.

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