Cambodian court to free murder ‘scapegoats’

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia (AP) — Cambodian rights groups say the Supreme Court has ordered the release of two men who were wrongly convicted and jailed for the 2004 murder of a prominent opposition activist.

Wednesday’s decision to drop all charges in the case came amid renewed calls to free the men, whom international rights groups have called “scapegoats” in the murder of Chea Vichea.

Chea Vichea was the leader of a Cambodian labor union and an outspoken critic of government corruption. He was gunned down in January 2004 at a roadside newsstand in the capital.

The investigation and trial that followed sparked local and international outcry.

Born Samnang and Sok Sam Oeun have served five years of their 20-year prison terms for the murder. They had long denied any role in the crime.

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