Home > Local News > Thach Saveth’s appeal under way

Thach Saveth’s appeal under way

The Supreme Court today opened an appeal from Thach Saveth, who was
sentenced in 2005 to 15 years in prison for the murder of a prominent
trade unionist.
Thach Saveth (right) eats breakfast with his mother (left) and other
family members before his appeal opened at the Supreme Court today. Photo by: Sovan Philong
Ros Sovannareth, the Free Trade Union’s
representative for the Trinuggal Komara garment factory in Phnom Penh,
was gunned down in Tuol Kork district in 2004 while riding his
motorbike.
His murder came just under four months after Chea Vichea, the FTU’s president, was shot and killed in Daun Penh district.
Thach Saveth was sentenced for Ros Sovannareth’s murder in 2005 and the conviction was upheld by the Appeal Court in 2009.
At
todays hearing, Thach Saveth said he didn’t know Ros Sovannareth and
was in Oddar Meanchey province’s Anlong Veng district at the time of
the murder.
“That day, I visited my aunt in Anlong Veng and returned back to Siem Reap town to sleep for one night,” he said.
“They charged me wrongly.”
Thach
Saveth testified that when he was arrested in July 2004, he was
questioned by police about drug-related incidents and he admitted to
being a drug user.
Later, he said, he was surprised when the court charged him with Ros Sovannareth’s murder.
“[The arrest] was arranged,” he said. “I request the court to find justice for me because I did not commit [the crime]”.
Human
rights group Licadho has been critical of Thach Saveth’s conviction.
Prior to 2009’s appeal verdict, Licadho issued a statement saying the
case had a “lack of credible evidence against him”.
“There are
remarkable similarities between the case of Thach Saveth, and that of
Born Samnang and Sok Sam Oeun, the two men who were unjustly convicted
of killing another trade unionist, Chea Vichea,” the statement read.
Born Samnang and Sak Sam Oeun were released in 2009 after nearly five years in prison.
Am
Sam Ath, Licadho’s monitoring supervisor, said today that the
investigations into the Ros Sovannareth and Chea Vichea cases were
handled by Heng Pov, a disgraced former police chief convicted in 2006
for the murder of a Phnom Penh municipal judge.
Chea Mony, leader
of the FTU, said after the hearing that the suspect was “not involved
in the killing” and that the Supreme Court “must reconsider this case”.
A verdict will be announced on February 16.
Phnom Penh Post
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Categories: Local News
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