Court upholds verdict in lawmaker beatings

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Opposition lawmaker Nhay Chamroeun is kicked outside the National Assembly in 2015. Photo supplied

The Appeal Court on Monday upheld the Phnom Penh Municipal Court’s verdict in a case against three members of Prime Minister Hun Sen’s Bodyguard Unit, after the plaintiffs, former Cambodia National Rescue Party politicians who were beaten by the bodyguards, sought higher compensation.

In the original verdict, the court ordered the three attackers – Mao Hoeun, Chay Sarith, and Sot Vanny – to pay ex-politicians Kong Sophea and Nhay Chamroeun 40 million riel each ($10,000). In absence of the defendants, Judge Nhong Thol read the verdict to the former lawmakers’ lawyer Choung Choungy.

“The council agrees with the decision and upholds the lower court [Phnom Penh Municipal Court] decision,” Thol said in reading the decision.

Choungy said he will talk with his clients to see if they wish to file a further appeal over the decision.

“The $10,000 compensation is not worth the damage, which excludes medical costs,” Choungy said.

On October 26, 2015, the lawmakers were leaving the National Assembly in a car when they were forcibly pulled out of the vehicle and beaten, with Chamroeun and Sophea receiving serious injuries. Their car was also damaged.

The original verdict by Phnom Penh Municipal Court was delivered on May 27, 2016. The verdict ordered each of the bodyguards to serve four years in prison and fined.

However, in its original verdict, the court ordered that three of the four years of their sentence be suspended. After serving one year in prison, they were freed.