24 January 2009

 

Amnesty: We've Made a Difference

(Thank you to everyone who responded to our appeal to support the film on Tuesday, which was the fifth anniversary of the assassination of Chea Vichea. If you read it and are thinking of donating, please don't wait -- this is the time! Click here to help.)

"Together we've made a difference," says Amnesty International of the court decision to release Born Samnang and Sok Sam Oeun three weeks ago.

"They didn’t do it, I believe, as a result of some suddenly acquired respect for the rule of law," writes Shane Enright, "they reacted as a consequence of the persistent protests of Cambodian workers, supported by Amnesty and union activism and the unwavering spotlight we put them under."

Brad's "detailed investigative journalism," he adds, "has helped keep the public spotlight on the case." Absolutely. That investigation is what you and millions of others will see in Who Killed Chea Vichea?. You, and millions of others around the world -- and the government of Cambodia knows it.

In Phnom Penh, both Samnang and Sam Oeun joined hundreds of other people for a march commemorating the anniversary. The Phnom Penh Post reports:
The two men, released from prison pending retrial after the Supreme Court cited discrepancies in their case, joined civil society leaders in laying wreaths next to a portrait of Chea Vichea and issuing calls for an independent investigation into the labour leader's death.

"I am very happy that I have opportunity to pay my respects to the spirit of Chea Vichea," Born Samnang told reporters. "I want to tell the people and the international community that I am not a killer. I hope the government will not allow the criminals to continue their activities against the people of our country."

"We have a small amount of justice due to the[ir] temporary release" the Post quoted Vichea's brother Mony saying, "but we still have no real justice because the real murderers and their accomplices are living freely." (article)
As the anniversary approached, there were indications that the retrial of Samnang and Sok Oeun in appeals courts, as ordered by the Supreme Court, could be approaching.

The Post quoted Sam Oeun's defense lawyer saying "The case documents are now being prepared to be filed to the Court of Appeal to conduct an investigation which, according to judicial procedure, takes at least a month." (article)

However, it appears the authorities have not said when the trial might take place -- and as long as there's no trial, Samnang and Sam Oeun will remain free but with 15 years of prison time hanging over their heads. Meanwhile, just as Mony said, the real murderers are still out out there.

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